Why the Replacements’ Tim Is the Best Reissue of 2023

In this episode of The Pitchfork Review podcast, our critics talk about the revelatory new version of the beloved rock band’s 1985 LP. Plus, Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson reveals his perfect-10 album.
The Replacements
The Replacements circa Tim, from left: Paul Westerberg, Bob Stinson, Chris Mars, and Tommy Stinson. Photo by Deborah Feingold.

Our weekly podcast includes in-depth analysis of the music we find extraordinary, exciting, and just plain terrible. This week Editor-in-Chief Puja Patel, Reviews Director Jeremy D. Larson, and Features Editor Ryan Dombal discuss the mind-bending reissue of the Replacements’ Tim, which was honored with a rare 10 in a recent review written by Larson. And stay tuned to the end of the episode, where the band’s bassist, Tommy Stinson, talks about an album that he considers to be a perfect 10.

Listen to this week’s episode and read an excerpt from it below. Follow The Pitchfork Review here.

Puja Patel: Let’s talk a little about what makes this reissue of the Replacements’ Tim a 10.

Ryan Dombal: It’s a high number.

Jeremy D. Larson: It’s pretty high. In this case, it has a lot to do with an entirely new mix of the record by the producer Ed Stasium. Because one thing that plagued Tim for its entire existence was how it sounded, and how it didn’t capture the band’s controlled chaos. There was a lot of digital reverb on the voice and on the drums, and it all sounded really compressed.

Now, let me say this: I don’t think Tim is an album that should be talked about among other hi-fi albums like Steely Dan’s Aja. It’s an album that’s meant to be listened to on a cassette in your ’84 Pontiac Sunfire. So what’s really interesting about this reissue and this remix is that question: Is it really something that needed to be changed? And I was like, Hell yes, it did need to be changed. This is a really good corrective that clarifies how great of a band they were at that moment in time.

Dombal: I totally agree. And it’s funny because the Replacements are a band where you basically just wanted someone to put them in a room and put a microphone in the middle of the room—that’s what you want to hear. This isn’t a band that’s using the studio as an instrument, like the Beach Boys. This isn’t an experimental band. This is a pretty basic rock band. So the original mix, by Tommy Ramone, felt like he was using too many effects and tricks—the whole album sounded like it was recorded down a 100-foot hallway. Maybe he had some artful reason for that, but it just doesn’t sound very good.

Larson: I mean, When you put on track one of this new mix of Tim, “Hold My Life,” it feels like you’re the Maxell cassette guy in the chair with his hair blowing back. The minute I hit play, I was furiously chatting and texting people like, “Holy shit, this sounds so amazing.” It really is like entering this alternate dream world.

Patel: I have never seen you bouncing up in your chair with giddy delight in talking about the way that something sounds!

Dombal: I had the same exact feeling when I first heard this. It’s mind-bending. And a big reason is because I’ve heard these songs so many times. It’s almost like I’ve been listening to Tim with a cold for 20 years. And now I can actually hear it.

Larson: This is Tim on Sudafed.