"Some claim this to be Paul's first "solo" record. While others claim a final whimper from an incredible rock and roll band. When it's all said and done it's 13 more beautifully crafted Paul Westerberg songs. Listen to the words sung in "Nobody". Facing marriage and still flipping it the middle finger. The longing and desire for a woman in "Bent Out of Shape". The frightening "All Shook Down" which to me really describes what this band state of mind/shape it was in when this was recorded. Then to the final song on the record,"The Last". Total closure on a ten-year ride in rock and roll.
The great thing about Paul's songs is that you do not need to know what he was writing about or what his feelings are about a specific song or record. I truly believe more than any other rock band on this earth that no one has written songs where once you let them into your life those same songs when heard ten years later you still feel that same emotion that you first felt when it reached your ears.
It's amazing that this man, his band and his music fell through the cracks. The biggest crime of all is that not enough people were aware of a band in a decade of vapid pop and schlock heavy metal bands that all sounded the same and looked the same. A true original goes unnoticed again. Isn't that always the way.....
The hit that never was
Howlinw | California, USA | 11/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got to the Replacements a few decades too late. The first I ever heard of Paul Westerberg was on the "Singles" soundtrack, which is one of the first CDs I ever bought when I was fifteen in 1992. "Dyslexic Heart" made an impression, but I didn't think about Paul and his music until I developed a taste for "Alt-Country" (bands influenced by Uncle Tupelo and the Jayhawks) later in the 90s. I found out that the Replacements were kind of an influence on some of the music I was listening to, so I went out and bought "Tim." I liked it well enough, but didn't really get anything else by them for a while.
Then, somehow, I found out that this one existed, read some glowing reviews, and thought I'd take a chance when I saw a copy sitting in my local indie record shop for $8. Let me tell you, the best $8 ever spent. This is one of the most complete albums I have ever heard, with a solid feel or mood throughout. It is also very honest, as it shows a very self-critical man looking back on the choices of his youth, not always pleased with the outcome. If the early Replacements work was the drunken party, this album is the morning after when you wake up with a bad taste in your mouth and a headache, wondering where your life is headed.
It's really a timeless record, with a sound that is similar to the Westerberg-penned tracks on the "Singles" soundtrack but not so uniquely "90s" that it won't be just as meaningful ten, twenty, or thirty years down the road. There's no one standout track either, no obvious single, just a song cycle that is best listened to as a whole. Want an album that makes it OK to look back on your mess-ups with a smile? Want to feel less alone as you find yourself creeping into adulthood? Try this disc."
Do Not Dismiss This Abum...
Johnny Kazek | Tampa , FL USA | 06/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To dismiss this album as a "weak, Paul Westerberg solo project" is ignorant. I think it may be what he was trying to say all along, from "Sorry Ma" 'til the the end. How long did it take from the momement you heard anything by the 'Mats 'til you realized they were the reason you listened to Rock ' Roll? It wasn't instantaneous, but when it hit you, you knew. And you knew they were the band you were WAITING for. These songs sum up everything he was/is about: Longing for- acceptance, substance, and love, no matter the year or style, and no matter who you are or who the world perceives you to be. If you won, you will soon be a loser just like the rest of us; if you lost, who knows?, but you must stil be true to yourself..."
A true album
whoamistevencagninacom | Miami, FL USA | 08/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So many CD's are just glorified CD singles; they have a good song or two(if you're lucky) and that is it. The beauty of an album is in its artistic whole - how do all of the songs collectively affect you? What kind of experience do they create, emotionally, from the 1st track to the last? All Shook Down is a great rock and roll album; it just flows, its melodies and vocal styling and lyrics mesh to create a sustained mood of great introspection. This is a great album by a great songwriter, backed up by the purest rock and roll band dynamic that can exist anywhere, anytime. Some people have to pine for their youth - and thus attempt to jail certain people or places into a constant past - so they don't feel the years around them as close as they probably are. That's not Westerberg's fault. He didn't become a great songwriter by trying to be someone's past - he writes what he knows, what he feels, and if you were a Mats' fan in 1980, chances are that by 91 and hovering around 30, these songs were closer to you then than Shiftless when Idle from the early days. It's all good, the early and the late era. And so if it is not simple taste that makes this album sound bad to your ears -- chances are, if you're a big time "oldies" Mats' fan - it's the notion that one more thing in your life grew up while you tried not to. Westerberg has the guts to just write songs - guts that are, sadly, very unique in the music business nowadays."
Mat's swan song uncharacteristic but fine nonetheles
whoamistevencagninacom | 08/04/1998
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The bad news is that All Shook Down is not truly a Replacements album. The great news is that it is a Paul Westerberg album. Many longtime Mats fans, already jaded by the glossy "Don't Tell A Soul", probably ran screaming when they heard the fine tunes on this effort.Even though it ain't really the Mats, this CD has some of the best songwriting Paul has done. 'Sadly Beautiful' is an excellent tender ballad. 'Nobody' and 'One Wink at a Time' are also great songs. This CD also is a great example of Westerberg's evolution as a songwriter. Yes, these songs were written by the very same man who wrote "Customer", "Bastards of Young", and "Alex Chilton." The album is quiet and introspective and very good if listened to in the right perspective. Give it a try, but spread the listening out between doses of the classic Replacements albums"