Review Summary: A classic landmark for the occasionally coinciding path of both hardcore punk and alternative rock just like the rest of their albums.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
Before transforming into one of the most titanic and seminal groups of the alternative rock-hardcore punk renaissance of the 1980s with moderately-renowned albums such as "Hootenanny", "Let It Be", and "Tim", suburban Minneapolis-based punks, the Replacements, were a most comedic punk quartet with 1 to 2 minute songs just like the rest of the other punk contemporaries at that time just like Hüsker Dü, Minor Threat, and Black Flag. However, even in this most early release, the Mats still gave us a splendid first impression of their heart-on-the-sleeve, blues rock-inspired lyricism, courtesy of their charismatic frontman Paul Westerberg. It was this capability that became a distinct trait for the Replacements' music and it certainly set them apart from all of the blatantly aggro adolescents throwing tantrums on stage and dubbing themselves hardcore punk, a scene that the Replacements wanted to part of at the time even with their own fairly aggressive sound and style.
1981's "Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out the Trash" was a terrific kickstart for the band's career as publicly underrated alt-rock icon. In fact, the album in itself has its own superb introduction. What better way to start off this band's discography than an aptly-named track like "Takin' A Ride"? That track title is spot-on in a figurative way because by listening to this first song you get the idea that you are actually about to "take a ride" at the start of the last great rock n' roll band's discography.
Next you get three stimulating songs that are just as exciting and full of Westerberg's lyrical antics and anecdotes as "Takin' A Ride" ("Careless", "Customer", and "Hangin' Downtown"), "Customer" in particular having one specific line of lyrics that juxtaposes romantic gestures and socioeconomic positions into the line "I'm in love with the girl who works at the store, but I'm nothing but a customer". Seems like I'm over-analyzing the line a bit, but come on that has got to be one of the greatest unrecognized examples of Westerberg's insightful lyrics. Next you get the signature guitar work and chanting chorus of "Kick Your Door Down", which is one of my favorite songs off of this album. However, what I've noticed after listening to this album several times in and out is that the guitar intro to "Kick Your Door Down" sounds a lot like the guitar outro to "Shiftless When Idle", another great track off of "Sorry Ma", but besides that small resemblance, both songs are A-o.k. Another thing is the 6th track "Otto", which is nothing more than a charging 2 minute punk tune that has only repetitive lyrics to set it apart from any other filter track. It's also one of the small cons of this album.
Until you reach the slower tempo-ed tenth track "Johnny's Gonna Die" (a harrowing salute to New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders who was a great influence for the Mats), you get another three intense and lyrically blunt songs after "Otto", and the rest of this album post "Johnny's Gonna Die" is just the same except I think the B-side tracks are slightly better than the A-side with such highlights as the previously-mentioned "Shiftless When Idle", "Don't Ask Why", "I'm In Trouble", and the coda of this great monsterpiece, "Raised In the City", a final track that brings closure to the album with the overall theme of adolescent ventures and observations, juvenile fury and the innocent scandals of the suburbs of Minneapolis.
To summarize, I think devout fans of good, ol' unkempt rock n' roll and/or hardcore punk afficianados romanticizing the seminal groups of that golden age of punk could really get into this album just as much as they could get into their sophomore EP "The Replacements Stink", another work of the Replacements which is abundant in comedically-pissed off punk anthems like "*** School", "White and Lazy", and of course the more widely-known opener "Kids Don't Follow".