The Replacements – Time: Let It Bleed Edition (Box Set Review)

When reflecting on the early period of Alternative Rock music, many will turn to acts such as R.E.M., The Pixies, or The Smiths, however, another extremely important pioneer is none other than The Replacements. A band composed of Guitarist/Vocalist Paul Westerberg, Guitarist Bob Stinson, Bassist Tommy Stinson and Drummer Chris Mars for most of its existence, The Replacements’ story began in the city of Minneapolis, MN back in 1979. Initially more a Punk Rock act, they rapidly progressed into a more Power Pop style that included Indie Rock vibes, thus solidifying their legacy in Alternative Rock history. Experiencing their most significant stylistic shift after their 1983 album Hootennay, 1984’s Let It Be was the dawn of a new era for The Replacements, leading the way for their major label debut in 1985, Tim.

Overall, the band’s fourth studio record, and first with Sire Records, Tim was a moderate mainstream success. That in mind, it did crack the Billboard Top 200, but the true strength of this album was not a chart position, but the mark it left on the scene. To many, Tim is considered one of the best Alternative Rock records of all-time. It is an album that features a ton of tracks that still entice younger audiences all these years later – from “Kiss Me on the Bus” to “Bastards of Young.” All this in mind, Tim is a record which engages, aged extremely well, and is now honored in 2023 with an extremely special reissue.

Entitled Tim: Let It Bleed Edition, on September 22nd Rhino reissue the album as a 4CD/1LP deluxe box set that has a ton to offer. Now, some might think, how much content could possibly be compiled for a single album originally consisting of 11 tracks? Well, there is a lot going on with this special edition of Tim, which includes a brand-new mix of the album from accomplished Producer Ed Stasium, alternate takes, demos, a live performance at the Cabaret Metro recorded in 1986. In all, that encompasses a total of sixty-five tracks, fifty of which have never been heard prior to this release. Additionally, there is a beautiful LP size book with twenty pages of liner notes! Put together by Bob Mehr, the notes are exceptionally well-written in a compelling storytelling format looking back at the history leading up to The Replacements’ Tim, the time creating Tim, recollections of the live performances, plus notes from Ed Stasium recounting his work on the new mix of Tim.  

Beyond this, the LP is the Ed Stasium mix of Tim, disc one is also the Ed Stasium mix, disc two is the remastered mix of the original Tommy Erdelyi mix, disc three is rare and unreleased demos/ alternative mixes, and disc four is the live performance from 1986 in Chicago, IL. A lot to consume, many are probably most curious to hear Stasium’s new mix of Tim. That in mind, it is important to note that Stasium had a long relationship and closely collaborated with the late Tommy Erdelyi. And for those who do not know, Erdelyi is also known as Tommy Ramone, working on a series of classic Ramones albums during the ‘70s, into the ‘80s. Additionally, Stasium was actually originally thought of to work on Tim back in ’85… so there is some history here. Furthermore, the fact there is this history, plus the fact that Stasium was close to Erdelyi, make this new mix respectful, yet offers a slightly different take. What is that take? Some might say it is more energetic, but not overtly modern, and that is pretty cool to hear.  

Which lead us to the fifteen alternative/demo unreleased cuts. These are also fun to listen to, offer some introspect into the creative process, plus a different listening experience. From here, the live portion of the set is a massive twenty-eight songs, lasts well over an hour, and sounds really quite exceptional. Raw, yet clean, you get a chance to recapture The Replacements during the height of their live performance career.

In the end, this is an ultimate collection that offers plenty of history and thoughtful insight into a wonderful album. Extremely well put together with care, you are guaranteed to walk away a wiser individual with a deeper understanding of The Replacements. That is why Cryptic Rock gives this must have Tim: Let It Bleed Edition box set 5 out of 5 stars.

The Replacements – Tim: Let It Bleed Edition / Rhino (2023) 

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