There’s an excellent piece by David Cantwell in The New Yorker entitled “Why Rock Criticism Was Essential to the Replacements”. It’s a review of the book that focuses on (as the title says) the importance and influence of rock criticism on the band, or more specifically on Paul.
“I was weaned on critics. I read every issue of Creem, Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy!,” Westerberg tells Mehr, adding, later, “I started to get a sense of what critics think is cool.” He also got a sense of what a certain type of critic did not think was cool. Critics, Westerberg explains, taught him that Top Forty singles and album-oriented-rock tracks were corny and hackneyed, and that punk rock—Johnny Thunders and the New York Dolls especially—was the way to go. Happily, the lessons young Paul Westerberg learned from all those critics freed him to explore new sounds. And, just as happily, he and the other Replacements followed those lessons only intermittently, mixing uncool bubblegum, A.O.R., and singer-songwriter balladry in with the punk—and whatever else was needed.