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The Replacements: All Shook Down (Reprise/Sire)

Richard C. Walls, Musician, November 1990

THE REPLACEMENTS' first two major-label albums after establishing themselves as an indie/cult/critics success — Tim ('85) and Pleased to Meet Me ('87) — contained no ostentatious commercial concessions, only the sort of tightening up and more focused songwriting you'd expect a talented group to develop over time. But with Don't Tell a Soul ('89), the other shoe (as in, first you sign with a major, then your music becomes bland) finally dropped with a vengeance. Accumulated goodwill moved many to generously search Soul for those singular Westerbergian nuggets. But as the first attempt by these no longer incorrigible scamps (minus one occasionally brilliant but troublesome guitarist) at settling down to some long-haul music making, Soul was restrained to a fault. In fact, a lot of it was dull.

Total word count of piece: 357

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