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Open Season - Featuring the Songs of Paul Westerberg (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)

Paul Westerberg & Various Artists

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Album Review

Paul Westerberg has been many things over the years and he was once notorious for being juvenile, but nothing he's done — not the prime years of leading the Replacements when they were notorious for being the drunkest band in the land, not the cleaned-up singer/songwriter shining up his tunes for the Singles soundtrack, not the aimless aging cult icon of recent years — ever suggested that he'd be the guy to provide songs for a CGI-animated film for kids. But Westerberg has long been a hero of many Gen-Xers who have long been determined to pay homage to their idol the way he saluted his own idol, Alex Chilton, by penning a song about him, so they've put him in movies — sometimes covertly, like naming the high school in Heathers after him, or sometimes explicitly, like his prominent music in Singles, which sounded nothing like the rest of the grunge on the soundtrack. And so his songs for the 2006 animated film Open Season aren't necessarily something new — it's more like the latest in a long line of attempts to break Paul Westerberg to a wider audience. It also fits into the 2000s trend of Gen-Xers making music for their kids now that they're parents themselves — see Dan Zanes and They Might Be Giants, among others — but where Zanes and TMBG cleverly spun their style, making music that appeals to kids and adults alike, Westerberg merely revives the sound of his early solo career, writing a set of songs that could have functioned as the sequel to 14 Songs. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing — it's lighter and livelier than most of the music he's made since then, a good example of Westerberg's skills as a craftsman, plus a good kindred spirit to his two new songs for the Replacements' greatest-hits set Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? — but they don't quite feel right as songs for a children's film, whether it's the bouncy "Meet Me in the Meadow" and "Love You in the Fall," the ham-fisted humor of "Right to Arm Bears," or the mournful acoustic ballad "Good Day," whose chorus of "a good day is any day that you're alive" seems altogether too melancholy for a film with wacky animals (not to mention that the offhand reference to the Mats' "Hold My Life" feels wrong here). That said, they are strong songs — shorn of his conflicting desires to delve deep into his soul and to rock recklessly, Westerberg has crafted some good, tuneful, lightweight roots-pop songs, and they're easier to enjoy than a lot of his work of the past decade. That they happen to function as the soundtrack to a forgettable computer-animated film seems to be a testament to his eternal obstinate perversity and bad luck, and how his hardcore fans love him for it. After all, if he didn't have those fans, he never would have gotten this gig in the first place and never would have had the chance to flex his writing muscle this way, reviving pop skills that it seemed he had willfully forgotten. (Open Season also has two OK neo-new wave songs by Deathray, a Talking Heads oldie in "Wild Wild Life," and Pete Yorn singing a reprise of Westerberg's "I Belong," but this really is Paul's show all the way.)

Customer Reviews

great songs, but somethings missing

So I saw the movie and was crazy about the music. And I get to the store to buy the songs and what happens? They don't have what I waned most. They should have 1/ the teddy bear fair song in some awsome remix and 2/ elliot singing his version of the teddy bear fair. That was hilarious and I was looking forward to it on my iPod but it wasn't there. But other than that the soundtrack is awsome.

Great Day for Replacements fans...

Pure fun from one of rock's most talented and overlooked songwriters - rockers (Love You In the Fall), great ballads (I Belong) and vintage Westerbergian wit/wordplay (Right to Arm Bears). Good Day is available on I-tunes on his Eventually CD so the album-only tag is kind of silly. "I Belong" Westerberg version is easily better of the two, and I like Pete Yorn. The 'Mats go mainstream; who'da thunk it!

Fitting?

Paul gets a big payday for this one...and his longtime fans have kids now. So they hired Pete Yorn to re-sing one of his songs too. Interesting. Paul was quoted in the WSJ, on the topic of the album, as saying it was "community service after my last arrest". I imagine this is the production that the next Replacements album would have received had they kept going. For that, I dig it.

Biography

Born: December 31, 1959 in Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After disbanding the Replacements in 1991, singer/songwriter Paul Westerberg resurfaced the following year with two songs on the Singles soundtrack. A year later, Westerberg released his first solo album, 14 Songs, in the summer of 1993. Although the record received generally positive reviews and spawned the modern rock hit "World Class Fad," the album failed to break the songwriter into the mainstream. Three years later, Westerberg released his second solo album, Eventually. Like...
Full Bio

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