Lists

Five world-changing albums that wouldn't have existed if blog buzz determined greatness

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The Replacements - Let It Be (1984)

Having built a buzz with glowing reviews from fanzines covering Minneapolis' punk scene at the turn of the 1980s, the Replacements went from a three-song demo tape to a debut album in a relatively short span. Stuck somewhere between the thrash of early punk and the emotionally accessible songwriting of Paul Westerberg, the band never quite fit in, a feeling they tried to dull with excessive amounts of alcohol and a friendly rivalry with fellow Twin Cities' act, Husker Du.

But despite the band's buzz, their debut record, a punkier EP, Stink, that followed it and another full-length in 1983 called Hootenanny all failed to deliver a critical and commercial knock out. The band struggled outright, including nearly being kicked out of the legendary CBGB's and then nearly imploding while opening for R.E.M. during an eight-show stint.

When they returned to the studio in the fall of 1983, the band decided to change direction, eschewing a strictly punk format for a style that showcased Westerberg's writing and touched up on influences of heavy metal, blues and more. The end result was Let It Be, which Spin and Rolling Stone both declared one of the strongest albums of the decade.

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Patrick Rodgers