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Runaway Tame

What does Minneapolis see in Soul Asylum?



When it comes to the '80s and '90s bands on which Minneapolis stakes its legendary reputation, there's Prince, Hüsker Dü, and the Replacements -- great acts all. Then there's Soul Asylum.

Not that a little pride for local '90s heroes is something to be ashamed of. But Minneapolis invests Soul Asylum with a mystique that'd be deemed ridiculous anywhere else.

That said, I tried to listen to The Silver Lining, the group's first studio album in eight years, with an open mind.

It's largely inoffensive, which is a nice way of saying that I almost made it through the whole thing in one sitting. But somewhere along the way, perhaps while Dave Pirner was wailing about a "Bus Named Desire" (yes, I said "Bus Named Desire"), I started having flashbacks to little Timmy, missing since 1987.

The bus song rocks out in a way that's hilarious and exaggerated, and convinces me that Soul Asylum is vying for an opening slot on the Poison tour. The band's melodies are occasionally catchy, in a bar-band-from-the-'burbs way. But Pirner's lyrics aren't worthy of a high school poetry mag. The opening track opines, "You might be right/You might be wrong/You might just think your life has gone on for too long," and later, "It won't take long/You can't go wrong/Stand up and be strong."

For what it's worth, I hear the band's great live, although, as you can imagine, I'm not exactly counting the days until the next show. Sorry, guys. I just don't get it.

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