AUK’s Chain Gang: The Replacements “Swingin’ Party”

Where better to look for a suitable link to Alex Chilton’s ‘No Sex’ than from a band that wrote a homage to him in one of their best-loved songs. And where better to go when feeling unloved, or at least unlusted-for, than a ‘Swingin’ Party.’ However, The Replacements’ ‘Swingin’ Party’ is less about searching for sex and more about surviving crippling anxiety and insecurity, while trying to convince the rest of the world that you just don’t give a damn – a neat trick at any party, if you can ever pull it off.

The song was written by Paul Westerberg and produced by Tommy Ramone, and appears on The Replacement’s excellent major-label debut album from 1985, ‘Tim’. There have been a couple of notable covers of the song but one of the most surprising and best is from New Zealand’s global pop star, Lorde, who did a lovely version of it in 2013.

There is a very long list of bands with chaotic reputations but The Replacements had more than their fair share of troubles to navigate and, as is often the case, drugs and alcohol were blamed for much of the carnage. With regards ‘Swingin’ Party’, Westerberg has said, “One of the reasons we used to drink so much is that it was scary going up on stage. That’s one of the things ‘Swingin’ Party’ is all about on the album … how it is a little frightening to put yourself on display all the time.”

The Replacements inspired many of the bands who have gone on to be the cornerstones of, including Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown. Enjoy a beautiful track from a criminally underrated band.

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Mike Robbie

Nicely done, Cam. Indeed, left of the dial…