Saturday, July 11, 2020

Certain Songs #1864: The Replacements – “We’re Coming Out” | Medialoper

Album: Let it Be
Year: 1984

. . .

One more chance to get it half right

In December of 1984, a couple of months after Let it Be came out, the Village Voice published an instantly infamous cover story — pretty much forever known as “The R.J. Smith story” — which described the tumultuous chaos (or chaotic tumult) that surrounded the ‘Mats. And by “surrounded,” I, of course, mean “created by.”

As somebody who was still in the process of understanding that Let it Be was going to end up his all-time favorite album (it would only be my second-favorite album of 1984 — after Reckoning, duh — in the year-end KFSR DJs poll), and already well into my years-long ritual of reading the Village Voice in the Fresno State library on Friday afternoons before I went on the air, I remember being floored that a cover story about them even existed, and loved how many of their contradictions it showed.

And if that article had a soundtrack, it would surely be “We’re Coming Out,” the state-of-the-Replacements thrasher that started with Paul Westerberg and Bob Stinson racing down the street, Chris Mars and Tommy Stinson doing everything they possibly can to keep up.

One more chance to get it all wrong
One more chance to get it all wrong
One more night to do it all wrong
One more warning
One more warning sound

We’re comin’ out
We’re comin’ out
We’re comin’ out

Almost lost in the chaotic tumult is the interplay between Chris and Paul on that chorus, the rat-a-tat snare battling with the rhythm guitar. And then, after the second chorus, the song stops for a second and Bob Stinson makes his presence known. Boy, does he ever, throwing out a long guitar solo that continually beats up on itself as it rattles around in the gutter looking up for the stars not even realizing its broad daylight.

In the end, the only way to stop the guitar solo is to stop the song.

But “We’re Coming Out” didn’t want to end, so it suddenly turned into a jazzy jaunt — complete with piano and finger snaps — as Paul sang one last time:

One more chance to get it all wrong
One more time to do it all wrong
One more night to get it half right
One more warning
One more warning sound

We’re coming out
We’re coming out

And as Paul screampeats “we’re coming out” again and again, each one more demented than the previous, the band picks up the speed with every single repetition and ends up basically crashing into each other, ending the song. Yet another whole universe in a little over 2:00.

Had it just been a thrash song start to finish, “We’re Coming Out,” would have been just fine, but adding that weird, jazzy rave-up at the end (which I think I read was kinda improvised in the studio, though I couldn’t source that for this post), added a depth and dimension to it that somehow also complemented the lyrical change from “all wrong” to “half right.”

“We’re Coming Out”

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