Our top 10 Paul Westerberg songs list looks at the body of work of an American musician best known for his contribution to the alternative rock scene. Born in 1959, Paul Westerberg started his music career at the end of the ‘70s with the band The Replacements. Together with his bandmates, Paul Westerberg took on punk rock as showcased by the band’s first two studio albums.
Paul Westerberg would eventually lead his fellow bandmates to explore alternative rock soundscapes by the mid- ‘80s. As a member of The Replacements, Paul Westerberg earned praise for his impressive musicianship as the band’s lead singer and principal songwriter. Despite having earned critical acclaim in the ‘80s, The Replacements prospects to push their musical pursuits in the ‘90s faded ending up in a breakup in 1991.
Paul Westerberg went ahead to launch a solo career in 1992 with the release of the two singles “Waiting for Somebody” and “Dyslexia Heart,” both of which were featured in the romantic comedy film Singles. Since then, Paul Westerberg has issued six full-length solo studio albums. Paul Westerberg has also issued one studio album Wild Stab under The I Don’t Cares, a collaborative project with Juliana Hatfield.
A Quick Review of Paul Westerberg’s Albums
In June 1993, Paul Westerberg issued his debut studio album 14 Songs. The album was produced by Paul Westerberg in conjunction with American record producer Matt Wallace. Other artists who worked with Matt Wallace include Maroon 5, David Baerwald, Train, Faith No More, and O.A.R. The fourteen-track album is home to some of the best Paul Westerberg songs including “Things,” “Knockin’ On Mine,” “World Class Fad,” “Runaway Wind,” and “First Glimmer.”
Paul Westerberg returned in 1996 with his sophomore studio album Eventually. The album was issued through Reprise Records under the production of Lou Giordano and Brendan O’Brien. Lou Giordano is best known for his work on Taking Back Sunday’s sophomore studio album Where You Want to Be.
On the other hand, Brendan O’Brien is best known for his work with AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam among others. “Love Untold,” “Ain’t Got Me,” and “Good Day” are some of the most popular songs by Paul Westerberg from the album Eventually.
Suicaine Gratification, issued in 1999, marked Paul Westerberg’s third studio album. The album was issued through Capitol Records under the production of Paul Westerberg and Don Was. Other artists who worked with record producer Don Was include Iggy Pop, John Mayer, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, and Ryan Adams. “It’s a Wonderful Lie,” “Born for Me,” “Whatever Makes You Happy,” and “Best Thing That Never Happened” are some of the best Paul Westerberg songs from the album Suicide Gratification.
In 2002, Paul Westerberg issued his fourth studio album Stereo. The self-produced album consisted of songs recorded by Paul Westerberg in his basement. Stereo was issued through Vagrant Records, a label (once) home to artists such as PJ Harvey, Blitzen Trapper, the 1975, Saves the Day, and Dashboard Confessional. “Baby Learns to Crawl,” “Mr. Rabbit,” and “Let the Bad Times Roll.” Stereo also featured Paul Westerberg’s cover of the Flesh for Lulu’s song “Postcards from Paradise.
Come Feel Me Tremble, issued in 2003, marked Paul Westerberg’s fifth solo outing. The album was also issued through Vagrant Records under the production of singer Paul Westerberg. “Crackle & Drag,” “What a Day (For a Night),” and the cover of Jackson Brown’s hit “These Days” are some of the musical gems featured on the album Come Feel Me Trouble.
In 2004, Paul Westerberg returned with his sixth studio album Folker. The album was issued through Vagrant Records under the production of Paul Westerberg. Folker was a mainstream success climbing to the eighteenth spot on the Billboard Top Independent Albums charts. The album also graced the Billboard 200 peaking at number one hundred and seventy-eight. Folker is home to some of the best Paul Westerberg songs including “My Dad,” “As Far as I Know,” “23 Years Ago,” and “Lookin’ Up in Heaven.”
#10- My Dad
Ushering us to the top 10 Paul Westerberg songs list is the tempestuous hit “My Dad.” The song is featured on Paul Westerberg’s sixth studio album Folker. “My Dad” is a perfect Father’s Day anthem as suggested by its lyrics. Paul Westerberg penned this track as a tribute to his father, Hal Westerberg. His father died aged eighty-five after being diagnosed with emphysema. “My Dad” remains a fan-favorite thanks to its lyrical depth and its ability to evoke heartfelt emotions.
#9- Knockin’ On Mine
“Knockin’ On Mine” is by far one of the most impressive songs from Paul Westerberg’s debut studio album. The song serves as the album-opening track to Paul Westerberg’s album 14 Songs. “Knockin’ On Mine” has lyrics describing someone who’s tired of people copying him.
The singer speaks of how knowledge from books is not everything in life. Paul Westerberg continues to say that true wisdom emanates from experience. “Knockin’ On Mine” has some of the best instrumentation—you ought to love how the mandolin swoops in and out in this song. Playing the mandolin in this song was Rick Price, who also played with other artists including The Georgia Satellites, Webb Wilder, and The Brains.
#8 – Love You in the Fall
Ranking eighth on our top 10 Paul Westerberg songs list is the impressive hit “Love You in the Fall.” The song is one of the most impressive non-album tracks ever released by Paul Westerberg. “Love You in the Fall” finds the singer crooning about how much he treasures and loves his partner even when seasons change and new people enter their lives.
The song also finds Paul Westerberg promising to never forget the lady expressing his enduring love. “Love You in the Fall” was featured in the soundtrack album of the 2006 film Open Season. The soundtrack album of the film Open Season reached position fifteen on the Billboard Top Soundtrack Albums Chart.
“Things” is yet another song that has endured its reign as one of Paul Westerberg’s fan-favorite picks. The song is featured on the singer’s debut studio album 14 Songs. “Things” finds Paul Westerberg wishing to express his love for his partner and how glad he is with her. However, the singer showcases his paranoia by sharing some things with her including his past. While the two might be in need of space, the singer still shows his enduring love to the lady. “Things” was covered by The Lemonheads and Dawn & Dewey.
#6- Mr. Rabbit
Ranking sixth on our top 10 Paul Westerberg songs list is the remarkable hit “Mr. Rabbit.” The song is one of the brightest picks off the singer’s fourth studio album Stereo. “Mr. Rabbit” finds Paul Westerberg singing that every little soul must shine! Paul Westerberg serves us with his mesmerizing vocals and he sings through the heartfelt lyrics to this traditional song. His rendition is by far one of the most captivating versions of the song “Mr. Rabbit.”
It is beautiful that the song “Mr. Rabbit” hasn’t lost the depth of its composition. Paul Westerberg goes minimalistic on its instrumentation which allows us to taste the rawness of his vocal performance. Other artists who have delivered their rendition of the song “Mr. Rabbit” include Burl Ives, Pete Seeger, and Casper Babypants (that’s Chris Ballew, the former bassist/vocalist of The Presidents of the United States of America.
#5- World Class Fad
We return to the studio album 14 Songs where we find the fifth pick on our top 10 Paul Westerberg songs, “World Class Fad.” The song “World Class Fad” is by far among the most popular early solo tracks by Paul Westerberg. This track finds Paul Westerberg crooning about how his lover is charming comparing her to a “World Class Fad.”
The singer encourages his lover not to give up and keep on pursuing her dreams. It’s just amazing how Paul Westerberg manages to incorporate some noisy (yet alluring) guitar tunes. Blending that with his alluring and shredded vocals results in an instant-pleasing rock ‘n’ roll classic! “World Class Fad” managed to climb to the fourth spot on the Billboard Alternative Songs Chart.
#4- It’s a Wonderful Lie
“It’s a Wonderful Lie” is yet another song by Paul Westerberg whose fame has endured throughout the decades. The song serves as the album-opening track to Paul Westerberg’s third studio album Suicaine Gratification. It feels odd when Paul Westerberg mentions that he is past his prime and feeling lost in the song “It’s a Wonderful Lie.”
Whether that was metaphoric or not, we can assert that the party wasn’t over yet for Paul Westerberg. Despite a poor run after his third studio album, Paul Westerberg’s impact in the rock scene was and still is still reverberating. The song “It’s a Wonderful Lie” has been covered by the Boston singer Mary Lou Lord, Mundy, and the Norah Jones-affiliated alternative country band Puss n Boots.
#3- Love Untold
Ranking third on our top 10 Paul Westerberg songs lists is the exquisite song “Love Untold.” The song was issued as a single towards the release of Paul Westerberg’s sophomore studio album Eventually. “Love Untold” finds the singer sharing the story of unrequited love. At the end of the song, Paul Westerberg confirms to us that he is the protagonist in the subject.
The song was a mainstream success peaking at number twenty-one on the Billboard Alternative Songs Chart. This would be Paul Westerberg’s last single on this chart. “Love Untold” featured a music video directed by Rocky Schenck. Other artists who have worked with American director Rocky Schenck include Adele, Sugarland, Delta Goodrem, Trisha Yearwood, Abby Travis, and Alison Krauss.
#2- Waiting for Somebody
“Waiting for Somebody” is one of the fan-favorite tracks by Paul Westerberg from the early ‘90s. The song is featured in the soundtrack album of the 1992 film Singles. “Waiting for Somebody” is one of the upbeat tracks by Paul Westerberg with a ‘50s rock and roll-Esque lyrical approach. The song is among Paul Westerberg’s hits covered by Fair Ohs.
#1- Dyslexia Heart
At the peak of our top 10 Paul Westerberg songs list is the song “Dyslexia Heart.” The song is featured on the soundtrack album of the 1992 film Singles. “Dyslexia Heart” finds Paul Westerberg singing about how he can’t make sense of his lover’s intentions. This emotive track remains the most sought-after song by Paul Westerberg to date.
“Dyslexia Heart” was also covered by the artist Fair Ohs. The song was Paul Westerberg’s first solo single to enter the Billboard Alternative Songs Chart peaking at number four. “Dyslexia Heart” featured a music video directed by Cameron Crowe. Other artists who have worked with Cameron Crowe include Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Alice in Chains.
Top 10 Paul Westerberg Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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