Imagine that Paul Westerberg has a time machine. He gets in it and travels back to The Replacements’ Twin/Tone era. He meets up with younger Paul Westerberg and they decide to write and jam with the rest of the boys, young Paul Westerberg bringing the ragged and raucous rock and roll noise, and older Paul Westerberg bringing the perspective that growing older gives you.
Older Paul and younger Paul hop in the time machine with the rest of The Replacements and travel to 1994 and ask Bee Thousand-era Guided by Voices to produce their new album in the random GBV style, with songs bleeding into one another, and beginning and ending unexpectedly.
Got all that? Well, that’s what 49:00 is like, and it will be thoroughly enjoyed not just by Westerberg fans, but also by Replacements fans who haven’t always been thrilled by Westerberg’s inconsistent solo career.
49:00 is available only digitally, from Amazon, as one file, not separate songs (which, given the album structure, wouldn’t really work anyway). You might find that annoying, but since they are only charging 49¢ for it, you can’t complain all that much, and you really ought to spend that 49¢. If you’re old fashioned like me and like to have a hard copy, 49:00 is getting very good reviews, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is a CD release somewhere down the line. (Or you can make your own.)
You can hear “Who You Gonna Marry?”, the opener, here. It’s a straightforward song. The album descends into chaos shortly thereafter. Blessed, blessed chaos.