There is something unmistakable about that chugging electric guitar and that voice —Paul Westerberg’s personality manages to transcend whatever project he’s working on and become untethered from time. The twist this time around, though, is that the Replacements frontman not only sounds re-energized, but downright happy.
A lot of that contentedness seems to be the result of his new partnership with Juliana Hatfield, who makes up the other half of his new project the I Don’t Cares. Many of the songs on their new album, Wild Stab, could be classified as love songs, with titles like “Kissing Break,” Hands Together,” and “Love Out Loud.” And try as they might to prove to the listener that they didn’t put much thought into this project — the vibe is muddy and slapdash, and much of it sounds like it was pieced together from ramshackle of basement recordings — it’s pretty clear that Westerberg and Hatfield do care about this project, perhaps more than they’ve cared about any of their endeavors in quite some time.
I love the original “Born For Me” and had wondered “why re-do something that is already perfect?” when I saw it in the track listing for this record, but this version is delightful. As Andrea Swensson’s review said: “Listen to “Born for Me” and try not to smile at the sheer glee of it.”