As some of you know, Paul Westerberg gave me probably the most important and thrilling kiss of my young teenage life -- so I'm pretty psyched about this one, from Pitchfork (plus the mention of Rome made me think of Chad, sweet dear too-far away, Chaddy McChad):
"It's the first new Replacements song in 16 years, but you probably missed its world premiere on knucklehead jock/Mats fanatic Jim Rome's radio show yesterday. The odd unveiling followed their fuck-it-all, bittersweet career trajectory perfectly with Paul Westerberg blowing-off an accompanying live interview with Tommy Stinson; these guys can't win. As the faithful bassist stumbled through the same questions he's spent 16 years trying to erase (answering the inevitable reunion tour query with an exasperated "I don't know"), he noticeably perked up when talk turned away from the Mats' murky future to Los Angeles basketball. Original members Westerberg, Stinson, and Chris Mars (who contributes back-up vocals)-- along with hired stickman Josh Freese-- recorded two new tracks late last year as part of an upcoming greatest hits package, but hopes for a full-fledged Mats reunion seem foolhardy, as this song subtly attests.
Rather than a new beginning, "Message to the Boys" works best as loyal farewell. Reminiscent of three-chord struts like Tim's "Hold My Life" and "Little Mascara", this is vintage mid-era Mats-- in between the early gutter punk and the late maudlin mopes. Westerberg's booze-bard lyrics are characteristic to the point of self-mythological as he begins, "Well, I met her in a bar/ Like I always say." His lost love's doomed existence as a roaming runaway who's missed but not forgotten delicately doubles as a keen Replacements allegory. "Yeah, I miss her and her voice," sings Westerberg. The Mats are dead. Long live the Mats."