Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Certain Songs #1878: The Replacements – “Nowhere is My Home” | Medialoper

Album: Boink!
Year: 1986

. . .

Nowhere is where I’m from

The next thing we saw from The Replacements, however, wasn’t a brand-new album, but rather an U.K.-only compilation from Glass Records — which as also The Jazz Butcher’s label at the time — that was just flat-out weird.

Purportedly an overview of the band’s Twin/Tone years, it consisted of just eight songs, none of which were from either Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash or Let It Be, instead, going with three from Stink and three from Hootenanny, plus “If Only You Were Lonely” and an outtake from the early Tim sessions, produced by Alex Chilton.

By 1986, of course, Big Star had been fully ensconced in our lives, so it was intriguing to find out that Alex Chilton had anything to do with the Replacements, since you really couldn’t hear any Big Star influence in their music. None of this mattered, of course, Boink!! was duly purchased from Tower Records the second we saw it, and the Alex Chilton-produced track, “Nowhere is My Home” definitely got some airplay, or maybe I just put it on a mix tape.

And why not? Despite a sound even thinner than Tim, “Nowhere is My Home” starts off with a great Bob Stinson guitar riff, a melody line on the verses that was kinda classic Mott The Hoople, and Paul Westerberg’s take on the road song.

Out to sea in a ship full of holes
Even though
With a heave and a ho
Gonna raise my sails
Rent a penthouse but sleep on a bench
Pass me the wrench
Take a shovel and a wrench
To this jail

And while it was kinda hard to make out what Paul was singing, the song had some real momentum as they built up to the chorus, where everything became loud and clear.

That’s my home, dear
Is where I’m from
Ain’t too far from here

Also loud and clear, the corkscrew hooks that Bob Stinson wove around each line of that chorus, related to but not exactly the same as the riff he opened the song with. While the material was still moving away from Bob’s strengths, and the time the Tim sessions proper started, Bob was moving away from full engagement with the band, in early 1986 a fully-engaged Bob Stinson could still drive a ‘Mats song forward. (As we’ll soon find out on the Live At Maxwell’s 1986 record.)

Also driving it forward, a typically hard-hitting solo that went on maybe longer that you expected as it sparkled swirled and dive-bombed. After that, it was Paul screaming “no-no-no-where at all” while Bob weaves his guitar all around.

There was a nice double-meaning here, as “nowhere” could also be interpreted as a dis on the Twin Cities, the “nowhere” the ‘Mats were from, or if you wanted to get even more complex, it could be seen as Paul making fun of people who considered the Twin Cities as “nowhere.” Though given how big Prince was by the end of 1984, it was probably just a song about life on the road, though they did play it in St. Paul in 2014, where, despite its rareness, people still knew it.

“Nowhere is My Home”

“Nowhere is My Home” Live in St. Paul, 2014

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