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Paul Westerberg | Stereo | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop
by Katy Shea
Paul Westerberg may now fall into that not-so exclusive club of indie darlings that no one really listens to anymore but nobody ever talks smack about for fear of being attacked by the under-the-breath, over-the-double-decaf-mocha-latte eye rolling and heavy sighing. Has he become an untouchable songwriting/rock icon? Has he been left as a hip reference for self-aware pop songs - a symbol of old school? Well...
Westerberg's new album is made up of two discs - one titled Stereo, the other Mono. The former is filled with earnest, well-crafted melodic rock tunes. It's a mellow, introspective trip - reflective of Westerberg's reclusive non-rock-star life (since becoming a father three years ago, Westerberg has fallen out of the public eye almost completely). Westerberg sounds just like the elder statesman that he is: He's not breaking new ground here, but he does it so much better than anyone else that you don't mind. It's slow and melancholy, confessional and under-produced... It's a reminder of the pith of Westerberg's appeal.
Mono is more Mat's-era Westerberg (released under the band name Grandpa Boy). We get the familiar noisy Replacement's guitar sound and growling vocals. Mono is noisy and fun, punky pop rock done well. The records complement each other and make for a solid release. Overall, the CD is a sweet reminder of why Paul Westerberg is revered the way he is. He is very good at what he does... if you know what that is.
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