Friday, July 10, 2020

Certain Songs #1863: The Replacements – “Favorite Thing” | Medialoper

Album: Let It Be
Year: 1984

. . .

Bar nothing!

Let it Be.

On its way to becoming quite possible the greatest rock ‘n’ roll album ever recorded, Let It Be did a tricky thing: after the opening bounce of “I Will Dare,” — cos you gotta lead with the hit single — it frontloaded nearly all of its punk songs, before giving away to the experiments, covers and ballads that dominated the back half.

And so, that trio of songs — all credited to the entire band — doesn’t get the same level of scrutiny as some of the titanic major songs that were coming later, but it says here that a) you needed that balance and b) songs like “Favorite Thing” or “We’re Coming Out” were still better than just about everything else that they’ve previously recorded anyways, because that’s just how great they’d become.

And so “Favorite Thing” explodes out of the speakers with a shout while you’re still marveling about “I Will Dare”, Paul Westerberg and Bob Stinsons guitars intertwining around each other as Chris Mars slows the momentum for a second with a couple of rolls.

Yeah, kid, it’s a-really hip
With plenty of flash and you know it
Yeah dad, you’re rocking real bad
Don’t break your neck when you fall down laughing
Donna, wanna, Donna

Yeah I know, I look like hell
I smoke and I drink and I’m feeling swell
Yeah, I hear you think it’s weird
But I don’t give a single shiiiiiiiit

They’re not Paul’s greatest lyrics, especially in comparison to some of the other ones on the record, and they’re kind of hard to listen to anyways, and while the band sounds amazing — some cool backing vocals by Tommy on the “shiiiiiiit” parts — it’s still kind of slight, especially as the second verse is essentially the same as the first, but then something amazing happens.

The guitars disappear, and it’s just a Tommy Stinson bass rumble and Chris Mars manic drums and they’re all singing the chorus:

You’re my favorite thing
You’re my favorite thing

And then Westerberg screams “Bar nothing!!!!!!!!” and he and Bob are off to the races, slashing their guitars against each other, making a terribly beautiful cathartic noise that Westerberg screams something utterly intelligible against it — I’m sure somebody has figured it out, but that somebody ain’t me — while Mars builds and rolls. It’s fantastic.

After that, they go back into the chorus, only this time, Bob Stinson is winding his guitar around it, giving it even more power as they chant and chant “you’re my” building to the coda, featuring Westerberg screaming

I think big
I think big
Once in a while

I’m gonna be honest: I had no idea what the fuck Westerberg was singing here for the longest time. Like until I looked up the words on Genius in order to write this post. I always thought he was singing “fave thing.” And as a matter of fact, that goes for most of the rest of the song, outside of the chorus. In any event, I should point out that all of this madness happens at top speed and it all over in 2:20, and definitely set the table for the rest of the record.

“Favorite Thing”

“Favorite Thing” live in St. Paul, 2014

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