Paul Westerberg Come Feel Me Tremble

"The trick that I'm about to give away to every young songwriter is…" Oh wait. The video camera comes unplugged and the quote is left to forever dangle. Such is the truth and nature of the Apostle Paul. While the DVD was recorded largely during Westerberg's 2002 tour, Come Feel Me Tremble could be the worst tour document ever, the most definitive documentary about the greatest singer-songwriter of the post-Dylan era, or both. The truth is, while CFMT may have started out as an attempt to document Westerberg's first tour since Eventually, like the old proverb says, life is what happens while you're making other plans. It is the moments between live footage, during interviews and voiceovers, that the life and times of Paul Westerberg are laid bare. Because the interviews bleed over the songs and the footage ranges from crystal clear to tinny and hand-held, CFMT is not for the casual viewer. The music is fragmented and often only features snippets of songs that are, at their core, beautifully treated. The documentary and interview footage is surprisingly candid and revealing for a subject that is so notoriously evasive. Westerberg discusses everything, from his songwriting to his family to his reasons for coming out of hiding and releasing four albums in the last two years. Some of that footage reveals more than Westerberg may have intended. Where before he has said that his songs are rather tossed off affairs that don't really mean much to him, five minutes are dedicated to him cursing his inability to build the proper vibe for a song that ultimately becomes "Wild and Lethal." These moments reveal that Westerberg's veneer of aloofness and air of comfortable indifference are very thin indeed. The songs that do run to completion are well placed and act as proof of thought, sustentative material for the sentiments expressed before them. Songs like "What A Day For A Night" and "Unsatisfied" appear in their entirety and are handpicked for maximum effect, with others shot live and some performed in the comfort of Westerberg's home, making every bum note and fudged lyric in between seem willed (Westerberg hallmarks attributed here to his professed ADD). It is as though he has a truly romantic soul but finds romanticism sappy and can't take himself seriously, refusing to allow his audience to do so either. But the veneer is so thin that the romanticism shines through. (Vagrant)