Join the Metro Times Press Club: Because no news is bad news.

Wednesday, May 5, 1999

End of the Irony

Posted By on Wed, May 5, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Paul Westerberg may have saved your life — or maybe just your sanity — before. As the leader of America's last great rock band, the Replacements, Westerberg wrote and sang about a world of beautiful losers somehow left behind and, in the process, established himself as one of the best songwriters of his generation. He's been on his own since the breakup of the Replacements in 1991, and while both 1993's 14 Songs and 1996's Eventually were good records, this one is a stunner.

Suicaine Gratification finds Westerberg with a new producer, Don WASterberg, a new label, Capitol, and a slightly tweaked outlook on life. He still thinks he's a loser, but this time out there's no sympathy, just affection for Westerberg as both a songwriter and as a person. He still knows how to turn a phrase upside down, but on songs like "It's a Wonderful Lie" and "Best Thing that Never Happened," there are no smart-ass punch lines, only an irony and sadness that's bittersweet. The record has rockers — great ones like "Lookin' Out Forever" and the sunny "Whatever Makes You Happy" — but the real gems are the ballads. Westerberg's duet with Shawn Colvin, "Born for Me," is flat-out gorgeous, and the record's closer, "Bookmark," is one of the saddest songs I've ever heard.

Without a tour or video to back it up, there's every chance that Suicaine Gratification may slip beneath the surf this year. That would be a shame, because this is a great record and I do believe that Westerberg is one of the best we've got. Not one to miss.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 30, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit