Paul Westerberg releases 49:00 MP3 for 49 cents

July 21, 2008  |  3:54pm
Check your pockets, champ. If you’ve got enough change to be a McDonald’s Dollar Menunaire, then you’ve got enough to buy Paul Westerberg’s latest release...twice.

The project, entitled 49:00, is an MP3 file that is 49 minutes long, on sale for only 49 cents. Westerberg, frontman of The Replacements and one of Paste's 100 Best Living Songwriters, planned to release it June 49 (“that's July 19 to you and me,” says his website). Because of cited technical difficulties, the actual release date ended up being “June 49 + 2,” which translates as Monday, July 21.

By using the Internet as the only vehicle for 49:00, Westerberg was able to present the music to the public without the hassle of a label. In fact, he apparently finished the tracks just last week. "He finished it on Monday, sent it to me on Tuesday and it was out this weekend," Westerberg's manager Darren Hill told Billboard. "It's just wonderful that you can actually do this. The freedom an artist can enjoy these days is fantastic. Can you imagine me pitching this idea to a label?"

49:00 reportedly includes 23 tracks, and is available at Amazon.com, which was reportedly the only retailer willing to sell the music at this low price. It was Westerberg's fanciful idea to charge a cent a minute for the recording, says Hill.

Westerberg plays every instrument and creates some mash-up tracks on the recording, at one point recruiting his young son, Johnny, for some singing duty.

The "liner notes," available on Westerberg’s website, offer up some safety tips and reminds us all to keep an open mind:

WARNING: DO NOT LISTEN WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE

“THIS PRODUCT IS NOT FAULTY - ALL SOUNDS ARE INTENTIONAL AND VALID AS A WORK OF ART”

With track titles like “Six Seconds of Stuff” and “Squeaky Obscene,” Westerberg seems to be letting the creative juices flow on this one. This follows up his previous solo album, 2004's Folker. Passing up on a milkshake might be worth it just to see what Westerberg’s been up to.

Unofficial Made-up-for-fun tracklisting from PaulWesterberg.net (thanks, Jodi!):

1. (Tell Me) Who You Gonna Marry? (3:57)
2. With or Without Her (3:01)
3. Something in My Life is Missing (3:42)
4. Mother’s Day (3:32)
5. As Yet to be Determined Noise (0:06)
6. Devil Raised a Good Boy (3:13)
7. You’re My Girl (0:24)
8. Everyone’s Stupid (2:37)
9. The one that says Fuck (0:09)
10. What Do You Want (0:20)
11. Now You Gone (0:44)
12. Goodnight Sweet Prince (3:54)
13. Guess I’ll Be Going Then (0:08)
14. Out of My System (3:22)
15. Be My Darling (3:44)
16. Money Goes Straight to Her Heart (0:12)
17. Hey, Hey (1:12)
18. Squeaky Obscene (1:11)
19. Six Seconds of Stuff (0:06)
20. It’ll Never Die (4:04)
21. Back To Saturn X Radio Report II (0:56)
22. I Think I Love you b/w Something I Can’t Discern (1:05)
23. Johnny Said So (2:09)

Related links:
Review: The Replacements - Twin Tone Reissues
Paul Westerberg online
Paul Westerberg on Vagrant Records

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