Album: Friday Night is Killing Me
1993 was a weird year to be a Replacements fan. The full reality of their breakup finally kicked in with the release of 4 solo albums – like KISS! (and yet, not at all like KISS) – being released that year: Paul Westerberg’s 14 Songs, Chris Mars’ 75% Less Fat (his second album), Slim Dunlap’s The Old New Me, and the Tommy Stinson-led Bash & Pop’s Friday Night Is Killing Me.
And yet, despite this seeming bounty, most Replacements fans would have preferred another ‘mats album. I know this because in 1993, I met dozens and dozens of Replacements fans from all over the country online. And so we got to not only discuss the band we all loved with new people, we got to dissect these records as well.
Me, I thought that Westerberg had made the overall better album: he was my favorite singer-songwriter in the world at that point, and his craft – even on the throwaways – was unimpeachable. But the song that haunted me that year was “Friday Night (Is Killing Me)”.
I guess you don’t spend that much time with the greatest songwriter of your generation without something rubbing off, because this song spoke directly to my soul in a way that some of Paul’s songs had previously.
1993 was a weird year for me: I’d had a number of creative endeavors go south or just plain end the previous year, so the first time in a long time, I didn’t really have any public outlet to express myself. I wasn’t in a band, I wasn’t on the radio, I wasn’t writing anywhere.
And furthermore, the tumult of my late 20s came to a screeching halt when I hit 30.
I was in stasis, just kinda drifting until I could figure out what to do next. Part of it involved getting on the internet – I instinctively knew that – but beyond interacting (slowly) with strangers on Prodigy & AOL, I still did my normal routine of going out to Livingstones or The Blue or Club Fred or wherever to drink and hang out, looking to recapture the excitement of when it was all newer.
And it was killing me. Maybe not so much the drinking, but the routine. The boredom. The “what else am I going to do” of it all. And more than anybody else that year, Tommy fucking Stinson – my nemesis! – captured it with those melancholy guitar leads, wrecked voice and the sad sad “again” after the title phrase.
I think the fact that I latched onto this song so hard is that I knew on a molecular level that things needed to change.
“Friday Night (Is Killing Me)”