Replacements – Answering Machine

This is raw, raw, and more raw. It didn’t fit in with the 80s mainstream and is one of the reasons I like it so much.

There are not as many answering machines anymore…although we still have one that is connected to our VOIP phone. We live in the middle of the country where cell phones are iffy sometimes.

Paul is the only Replacement on this song. He did the guitars, percussion, and vocals.

Westerberg liked a girl in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and would court her long-distance. Sometimes he’d call to talk her and get her answering machine instead. He said at the time that he wasn’t a modern person and that technology irritated him. If technology did in the 80s I can’t imagine what he feels today.

He poured that frustration into “Answering Machine.” He considers it one of the best songs he did with the Replacements. The song was on the album Let It Be released in 1984 and is considered one of their best albums. It was ranked number 241 on Rolling Stones list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

At the song’s conclusion, amid a wall of noise and effects, he would shout out Michigan’s 313 area code; he also threw out a couple others, including New York City’s 212, to cover his bases with a few other girls, just in case.

Paul Westerberg: “There was real passion, and there was a real person on the other end, and that made it all come to life.”

Answering Machine

Try and breathe some life into a letter
Losing hope, we’ll never be together
My courage is at its peak
You know what I mean
How do you say you’re okay
To an answering machine?
How do you say goodnight
To an answering machine?

Big time’s got its losers
Small town’s got its vices
A handful of friends
One needs a match, one needs some ice
Call-waiting phone in another time zone
How do you say I miss you
To an answering machine?
How do say good night
To an answering machine?

(If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again
If you need help, dial the number…)

I get enough of that

Try to free a slave of ignorance
Try and teach a whore about romance

How do you say I miss you
To an answering machine?
How do you say good night to
An answering machine?
How do you say I’m lonely to
An answering machine?
The message is very plain
Oh, I hate your answering machine
I hate your answering machine
I hate your answering machine…

(If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again…
If you need help…)


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

15 thoughts on “Replacements – Answering Machine”

  1. Oh my. Maybe it’s my mood or something, but this is a total miss with me. There are bound to be a few of those, naturally. Seeing the other comments, the problem is clearly me and not the song. The raw sound I can get on board with. But …I don’t know. I’ll look forward to the next one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. His voice is back too far…that is my problem with it. To me it’s not their best song…Here Comes A Regular, Skyway, and I Will Dare are near the top of my list by them.
      I just finished up the post about a Kansas alt band…The Embarrassment…they are from Wichita….ring a bell?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok…they play once in a while at The Roadhouse. Dang I was hoping you could give me some more info lol. It will be Monday…thanks for reading!

        Liked by 1 person

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