Album Reviews: Folker by Paul WesterbergWe all know the importance and the lore of Paul Westerberg’s former band, The Replacements (if you don’t, stop reading this and get thee to a record store). The merit of Paul’s solo career isn’t always as widely accepted.
Paul is a husband and father and lives in a quiet suburb of Minneapolis. For his last few albums, he’s been writing, performing, and recording every moment hermit-style in his basement. The product of which has been some of the most honest and loose music of his substantial career. On Folker, his fourth release in the last two years, he may have gotten a little too loose. B-side jaded humor (“Jingle (Buy It)”) shouldn’t make the final cut, let alone be the opening track of the album.
But Folker is not short on the classic Westerbergian pop hooks and indiosyncratic lyrics that his fans have come to expect. There are several gems that will hold their own in his extensive catalog. Folker won’t gain him any new fans; there’s nothing here that he hasn’t done before. But for a fan like myself, it’s like hearing from an old friend. For others, some of this may sound like leftovers from the Stereo sessions. But Paul’s leftovers are still better than most. - Doug Kamin
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