A New Edition of The Replacements’ “Tim” Has a Very Different Take on “Can’t Hardly Wait”

Does cello make everything better? It just might.

The Replacements
If you've ever wanted a bit more cello with your Replacements music, your long wait is over.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Replacements might not have quite as extensive an archival catalog as another beloved Twin Cities musical artist, but a number of recent reissue campaigns have put a welcome spotlight on some of the group’s unreleased tracks and alternate versions. The latest album to get this treatment is Tim, considered to be one of their best works. Writing at AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted that “the Replacements turned into a deeper band on Tim, one that spoke, sometimes mumbled, to the hearts of losers and outcasts who lived their lives on the fringe.”

One of the highlights of the reissue is an alternate version of a song that’s best known for its appearance on a subsequent Replacements album, Pleased to Meet Me. That would be “Can’t Hardly Wait,” a song that’s inspired everything from subdued cover versions to 1990s teen comedies. But if you’ve ever wondered what a version of “Can’t Hardly Wait” performed by The Replacements circa Tim and featuring a cello instead of the Pleased to Meet Me version’s horns, well, wonder no longer.

This version of “Can’t Hardly Wait” is built around a solo recording Replacements singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg made of the song, with the addition of Michelle Kinney on cello. “I do remember watching Paul through the studio window and him talking in my headphones and kind of singing parts for me,” Kinney recalled in a statement. “He would kind of conduct me, and I’d try to do what he asked. He was being really hilarious and animated and calling me ‘Maestro.’”

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The full reissue, known as Tim: Let It Bleed Edition, is set for release on September 22. Altogether, it features four CDs and one LP and includes a new mix of Tim, along with rarities, demos and a 1986 live recording from Chicago’s Cabaret Metro. It’s a piece of rock history with a lot more context this time around.

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