Stink EP (Deluxe Edition)

The Replacements

Rhino, 2008

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


You know your original album’s short when a remastered version with four additional tracks still doesn’t clock in at thirty minutes.

Stink, a fifteen-minute rush job EP, is punk rock taken to its extremes. The tracks were laid out in one day. The song titles -- “Fuck School,” “White and Lazy,” and “Dope Smoking Moron” -- are pretty self-explanatory.

Lyrically, one of the only real surprises is “God Damn Job.” Reading the title, the listener may get the idea that it’s a shredding rant about one’s dead-ass, dead-end job. But Paul Westerberg is so down that he only wishes he could have such a job. “Goddamn it, goddamn it, goddamn, I need a goddamn job / Right now, right now,” Westerberg spits out.

Some parts of this disc pick up where nbtc__dv_250 Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash left off. As their debut album intentionally left some gaffes in, such as the “Okay, tape’s rolling” that can still be heard in some of the songs. With Stink, the album opens up with the police being called to where The Replacements are rehearsing to investigate a noise complaint. In the liner notes, Terry Katzman tells how while this was happening, he kept recording the whole thing.

A police officer declares, “This is the Minneapolis police. The party’s over with…grab your stuff and you won’t go to jail” before “Kids Don’t Follow” kicks things off. The song is immediately more sophisticated than virtually all of the tracks off of Sorry Ma... Still, it’s 1982 and the band still has years before they enter full maturity with Pleased To Meet Me. “Fuck School” is as funny as it is catchy with a chorus that virtually every kid who emerged from high school with some emotional scars can identify with: “Fuck school fuck school fuck my school.”

While the song “White And Lazy” is definitely not one of The Replacements’ finest moments, it was the first song on tape to show the band branching out beyond the traditional guitar, bass and drums. A bluesy harmonica is included, and while it doesn’t fit in with the song, especially with the frenzied last thirty seconds of the song, it shows that they could stretch.

The bonus tracks include two excellent covers that were part of their live shows: “Hey, Good Lookin’” and “(We’re Gonna Rock Around The Clock).” The album closes with Paul Westerberg’s quiet “You’re Getting Married,” a song that Bob Stinson did not want on the album because it wasn’t rocking enough.

As for a reissue, Stink is probably the album that is helped most by the remastered treatment. As stated earlier, the additional tracks don’t make the album wear out its welcome as it doesn’t require an hour’s worth of time to digest. The covers are a welcome addition, and a listener can easily imagine The Replacements laying into these standards at a hot, smoky bar. Plus, “You’re Getting Married” shows the gradual evolution of one of the chief architects of college rock. 

Rating: B

User Rating: B+


Stink is the closest the 'Mats ever got to hardcore punk...and it's not half bad! Admittedly, the 1-2 knockout punch delivered by "Kids Don't Follow" and "Fuck School" undermines the rest of the material, but every song on here is enjoyable.

As much as I love the irreverent punk of Stink and Sorry Ma, I'm glad Paul and the boys set off in a different (or more precisely, several different) direction by the time Hootenanny rolled around. Paul Westerberg was never the type of songwriter to be confined by the strict nuances of one genre for long, but as Stink shows, he could excel at noisy, sloppy punk rock just as well as he could at introspective ballads or sloppy alternative.

© 2008 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Rhino, and is used for informational purposes only.