This has been sitting in my draft folder for days and it’s time to let it go. It’s not perfect but I think it says what I need it to say.
Summer afternoon 1993 – I’m 19 years old and I’m riding a bus home with my first real girlfriend. We had just gone to a used record store where I bought a vinyl copy of The Replacement’s Pleased to Meet Me for $4.99. After the bus dropped us off and I walked her almost all of the way home (she didn’t like her walking me all the way because her mother might see me) I went home to play IOU, Alex Chilton and the rest of the album* as loud as I could before anyone got home.
*I played the whole album that day but after a few listens I would skip Nightclub Jitters. Which brings up a related thought: I love The Replacements like they are family they are probably my favorite band ever but on every album there’s one song I usually skip. By album they are: Sorry Ma- Otto, Stink- Go, Hootenanny- Hootenanny, Let it Be – Answering Machine, Tim – Dose of Thunder, Pleased to Meet Me – Nightclub Jitters, Don’t Tell a Soul – We’ll Inherit the Earth, All Shook Down – Problem. Still, one skipped song per record is a pretty decent run.
I like Pleased to Meet Me a lot but it’s probably my 5th favorite Replacements album. That said, I’ve probably listened to it more than any other Replacements record because it has a way of appearing at important times in my life. For example:
- When I moved out of the house I brought my records with me (of course). I’d like to say that the first thing I did after getting unpacked was play Pleased to Meet me but that would be a lie, the first thing I did was get my phone line connected and call one of the numbers advertised in the back of Swank Magazine (don’t judge me, I was 20 years old and finally had my own phone line, what would you have done?). The second thing I did was cue up side two of Pleased to Meet Me. In retrospect hearing Nevermind was a better and less expensive way to spend three minutes.
- A few years later I was dating someone and we had some sort of stupid argument that ended with me driving away angry. Prior to the argument my girlfriend had borrowed my car and left Pleased to Meet Me in the cassette player. When that tape got to Valentine (second song on side 2) I turned the car around and apologized before she could cut me out of all of our photos (she sometimes did that when she got mad at me)
- In 1999 I paid about $5 to ship Pleased To Meet Me and some other records from Long Island to Los Angeles. Several months after I moved I found myself back home, across the street from where that record store stood doing something I thought would change my life forever but only changed it temporarily. When I finally sat down to tell that story I referenced the only man with a song named after him on Pleased To Meet Me (that story can be found here but anyone who has read my blog more than once knows it already.)
- A few years after that, a particularly bad summer ends with me locking myself in the house and playing Pleased to Meet at least three times a week for the rest of the year.
(Not the record player I talk about below)
A few days ago I was reconnecting an old record player and I wanted to hear how it sounded after being in storage. I blindly reached into a crate of records and pulled out Pleased To Meet Me. It’s the same copy I took home on the bus in 1993. The turntable hummed as it warmed up, the needle lowered to touch the record and the speakers came to life. It occurred to me halfway through Alex Chilton that this copy of Pleased to Meet Me is the last tangible artifact of my teenage daydreams; the last record I bought and first played at my father’s house (at least the last one I still have today). I should probably replace it with a CD copy or at least a less worn vinyl copy but I probably won’t because the sound of this beat up record takes me somewhere I can’t get any other way.