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New Review: 49:00 by Paul Westerberg

Paulwesterberg49cov Paul Westerberg of Replacements fame decided to release a new album in MP3 format only, it’s called 49:00 and it could be considered more of a single than an album because it’s a number of songs all mashed together as one long track with no breaks or tracking points. Paul will be 49 years old this year, the track was sold for .49 cents and the length of the track is, you guessed it, 43 minutes and 55 seconds long…what?! This is a mix of new songs and covers. Many of the songs that are mixed into this long track are short and sound unfinished, although some are complete songs and they are surprisingly good. But they all run together…and did I mention it’s all one long track? In a music industry that is currently overflowing with bad ideas, this may be the mother of them all. Who knows what the track listing is…because it’s one long 44-minute track! It does happen to contain the best musical ideas Paul has had in years, maybe ever. But unfortunately he buried them in this one, single, bad idea of a track. The other problem is that some of the best sounding and well-written moments sound unfinished. Or end abruptly.  It would be one thing if this was one song, like some art rock epic, but it’s obviously a number of songs, many bordering on brilliant that were run together for a reason that eludes me. To make things worse, the only place you could get the track was from Amazon (even then only in the US), but that doesn’t matter now because it’s been pulled from Amazon, I assume for copyright violations (nice Beatles cover). Then the track was posted for a while on the TuneCore site, but it’s been pulled from there as well. TuneCore now has another track up that’s called "5:05," and this one is actually 5 minutes and 5 seconds long and is one cohesive track. I imagine this is the missing "5:05" from the 49:00. Who can make sense of it? If the goal was to get publicity, kudos to you for that because a supposedly 49 minute one track album being sold for .49 cents has generated a lot of buzz, including a review in the new Rolling Stone and this review I’m writing now. If the goal was to seriously confuse and irritate the listener, kudos on that as well, mission accomplished. All that to say there are some great songs and song ideas here. However, even that is a mute point now though because you can’t buy it anymore even if you wanted to subject yourself to this 44 minute MP3.

Honestly Paul, how many shots of Goldschlager did you have to drink before you came up with this one?

Memo to Paul: Separate these songs (or at least put in separate tracking points), put out a CD or CD’s with full, mixed versions of all of them in real packaging with credits and track info and sell it on your site and on iTunes. I’ll buy it, and for full price. Forget the .49 cents for one long mash-up idea. Now you’ll have to excuse me because I have to go find something a bit more listenable and concise to cleanse my palate, like Tales From Topographic Oceans.
You can find out more about Paul here: www.paulwesterberg.com


Mike Beidler

Com'on, Tony. Tell us how you REALLY feel! ;-)

Dr. Tony Shore

Ha! Yeah, can you tell I thought this was a horrible way to release new music? It probably wouldn't have bothered me if it didn't contain some of his best music. It could have been his best release ever, but for some reason he ruined it.
Oh yeah, and did I mention it's just one long track containing a bunch of different songs and song clips with no tracking points or song titles?


You didn't get it.


This is the best record of 2008. I think what Paul did is brilliant and I love this the more I listen to it.

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