One thing Paul Westerberg should understand: repeating a chorus and a guitar lick for 3 minutes does not constitute a song. On Come Feel Me Tremble he does this far too much. Songs like “Hillbilly Junk,” “Soldier Of Misfortune” and “Making Me Go” barely make complete thoughts, let alone a song. Westerberg can usually get away with this, because his skewed viewpoint and spot-on guitar can override the repetitiousness. This time, he doesn’t always make it work. On some tracks, he either didn’t have enough to say or enough music to say it with. Lots of filler.
The irony is that Westerberg’s filler is pretty good stuff, and when he shines he can blow you away. “Knockin’ Em Back” is a standout, whipsaw-rock track and a perfect example of what Westerberg does best. Other strong tracks include the thoughtful “These Days” and “Dirty Diesel,” a Stone-sy blues rocker.
Bottom line? There’s a lot of inconsistency. But Westerberg’s off-kilter approach (and stumbling-but-catching-himself-at-the-last-minute execution) somehow makes it more than the sum of its parts. Even though you might skip a track or two.