Westerberg, Paul - Suicaine Gratification LP

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  • Few artists have been so revered and so lambasted simultaneously as Paul Westerberg. That's what happens when you front one of the greatest rock bands of the '80s (the punkish, youthfully disillusioned Replacements) and then can't reach such lofty heights again. Finally, with Suicaine Gratifaction, Westerberg stops trying to be that renegade rocker. Instead, his third solo effort is practically adult-sounding, a mostly somber collection of sweetly ragged folk and rock (often piano-based) that reveals the 38-year-old songsmith more comfortable in his own artistic skin than maybe anytime previously. Thankfully not toocomfortable, for Westerberg is wondrous when sounding wounded and worn, which is often the case on this demon-confronting effort. The mostly solid Suicaine Gratifaction is maybe his best effort in a dozen years. --Neal Weiss