Paul Westerberg – Stereo/Mono

Paul Westerberg

With this new record, Paul Westerberg delivers two very different discs. One disc is of singer/songwriter tunes similar to his previous solo work, while the other from his side project, Grandpaboy, is of Replacements-like rock. Westerberg shows that he is equally adept at both styles through these discs. Those that have wanted Westerberg to return to what he did with The Replacements will be very happy with the Grandpaboy disc Mono. Fans of both Westerberg’s solo work and the work he did with the Replacements will have something to enjoy.

Stereo starts off with one of the catchier tunes on the disc by way of “Baby Learn to Crawl,” which has some great guitar work by Westerberg. “Dirt to Mud” starts off with some great lyrics: “As long as my veins are flown with blood / as sure as the rain turns the dirt into mud / dirt into mud / as long as there’s blood in my veins I will search / as sure as the sun turns the mud into dirt / I will hurt.” Westerberg really shines with some wailing vocals that add to the emotion of the song. “Got You Down” carries a tune reminiscent to the one used by the Goo Goo Dolls in their song from the movie City Of Angels but done better by Westerberg and more enjoyable.

“Boring Enormous” shows what makes Westerberg such a good songwriter with some fun wordplay. “Nothing to No One” has some very nice slide guitar work to match the moan of Westerberg’s vocals. “We May Be the Ones” has Westerberg doing his best Dylan, with an aching folk song. “Mr. Rabbit” is a loping song with a fun guitar part. “Let the Bad Times Roll” drags on for longer than necessary, and Westerberg’s performance is lackluster. Stereo ends on a high note with “Call That Gone” that has an infectious vocal performance by Westerberg.

Westerberg’s side project Grandpaboy is a much more rock-oriented affair. Mono starts off with the crunching “High Times” that shows you what this disc is all about, with its loud crunching guitars and slurred vocals. “I’ll Do Anything” is a real rock song with a lot of attitude much like his previous work with the Replacements. “Let’s Not Belong” is one of the poppier moments on this CD without losing any of the attitude. “Knock It Right Out” is full of classic rock and roll attitude with its sloppy guitars and vocals full of attitude.

“Eyes Like Sparks” is a catchy dirty rock song with it’s choppy vocals, and stinging guitars. “Footsteps” is powered along by some driving, distorted guitars, and a moaning Westerberg. In “Kickin’ In the Stall” Westerberg uses his moan to wonderful effect that works very well with the driving rhythm section. “Between Love and Like” and “AAA” close out the dise sticking to the rock formula of the rest of the disc. “AAA” is a standout track with it’s catchy chorus, and biting guitar.

Westerberg gives fans of both his solo and Replacements work a lot to enjoy with these two releases. Westerberg has put together two very good discs with Mono being slightly more enjoyable. Westerberg shows his craft with his songs on Stereo while showing he can still rock out like with Grandpaboy on Mono. Westerberg has given fans a solid disc of folk rock that sticks to it’s guns and a high energy rock disc.