Song of the Day #4,946: ‘Sixteen Blue’ – The Replacements

I’ve long seen The Replacements’ 1984 album Let It Be lauded as one of the best alternative rock albums of all time, but I’d never listened to it closely enough to test that theory.

The band had released three albums of loud, reckless punk before lead singer/songwriter Paul Westerberg decided to try his hand at some songs with actual structure and melody. The result was this 11-track collection that features some softer, more contemplative songs among all the thrash.

I can see the appeal of some of these songs, especially the thread of adolescent angst running through the lyrics that would have made this a great soundtrack for anybody living through high school in the mid-80s. Maybe if I’d discovered Let It Be then I’d be on the bandwagon.

But listening to it today, just shy of 50, I can’t help but dismiss it as way too loud! I have no room in my life for punk, even with an alt-rock sheen. Half of this record is simply unlistenable.

The more accessible tracks, like today’s SOTD, are fine but inessential. Hat tip to the critics and fans who laud this album as among the greats, but I’ll have to sit this one out.

[Verse 1]
Drive yourself right up the wall
No one hears and no one calls
It’s a boring state
It’s a useless wait, I know

Brag about things you don’t understand
A girl and a woman, a boy and a man
Everything’s sexually vague
Now you’re wondering to yourself if you might be gay

[Chorus]
Your age is the hardest age
Everything drags and drags
One day, baby, maybe help you through

[Verse 2]
Drive your ma to the bank
Tell your pa you got a date
But you’re lying
Now you’re lying on your back

Trying to figure out, they wonder what next you’ll pull
You don’t understand anything sexual
I don’t understand
Tell my friends I’m doing fine

[Chorus]
And your age is the hardest age
Everything drags and drags
You’re looking funny, you ain’t laughing, are you?
Sixteen blue
Sixteen
Sixteen

[Chorus]
Your age is the hardest age
Everything drags and drags
You’re looking funny, you ain’t laughing, are you?
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue
You’re mine, if you want to

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,946: ‘Sixteen Blue’ – The Replacements

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I wonder if the Replacements influenced the grunge rock artists of the 90s like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. I can hear elements of their sound in a song like this.

  2. Reb says:

    I can recommend a couple of songs from “Pleased To Meet Me”, specifically “Alex Chilton” and “The Ledge”…having said that, I never had the desire to delve deeply into their catalogue, so my knowledge begins and ends with what was on alternative radio in Boston at that time.

  3. Rob says:

    Paul Westerberg went on to release some strong solo albums after the Replacements disbanded (“14 Songs”,”Eventually” and “Besterberg – The Best of Paul Westerberg” are good places to start). His songwriting became more focused and streamlined. He also penned “Ghosts On The Canvas” for Glen Campbell as a pseudo-sequel to “Wichita Lineman” – it is a brilliant song.

  4. Amy says:

    When I saw the album art, I was immediately back at UF with a cassette tape of this album. I could see it clearly but cannot pull the songs back at all! That’s certainly unusual.

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