Dear Paul Westerberg,
I know you probably get this all the time – everyone from record label execs to 8 year old kids must have told you what a genius you are, how the Replacements changed their lives, how much they liked that song from Singles, et cetera. I think all I can hope to do is add my voice to the chorus …
The thing is that listening to the Replacements and your solo stuff makes me feel like I’m fourteen again. That was the last time I remember listening to a band and loving them so much that I wanted to dress like them, style my hair like them, start a tribute band featuring their music, name my kids after their songs. You get the point. The first music I put on most mornings is yours. A first date? “Love Untold”. Second date? “Dyslexic Heart”. On tour with my band, away from my girl? “Answering Machine”. And if I could die having written only one song, it would hopefully sound a lot like “First Glimmer”.
I’m not sure I can explain myself clearly when I tell you how happy I am that you’ve written this music – how happy it makes me to know that you’re alive and walking around the same streets as everyone else. The fact that you’re a part of this era, right now, my time and not my parents’ time, that you haven’t checked out or burned up or given in, or walked into a river and drowned, is thrilling to me. Probably more thrilling to you though, I would imagine. I guess my point is that the music that you’re making, it’s not like Jimi Hendrix’s or Clapton’s, or Zeppelin or the Who – bands that I love, artists that I love, but ones that I could never feel any ownership in, any PRIDE in. Your music … I feel like it belongs to me and my friends, while Hendrix belongs to my parents. I can read my parents’ books and love them, but they’re not my books. Tim, Let It Be, 14 Songs, Eventually … THOSE are MY fucking books. I don’t know if I’m making myself perfectly clear; shit, I don’t know if that’s even possible when talking about music.
God damn, you know I was listening to “Baby Learns to Crawl” and I had this thought: “Wait. J-just … okay. Just hang on a SECOND. You mean … I bought this record, I have it RIGHT NOW, and I can listen to it whenever I want to? I don’t have to pay an admission fee or register my name with the state or pay sixty bucks for a bag of blow to fucking FEEL this way? All I have to do is listen to this music? Fuck you, there’s a catch.” There’s no catch. You’re that good. Thank you for what you do.