Best Teenage Fanclub album

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A remarkably consistent band, though I'd be astonished if Grand Prix and Bandwagonesque weren't streets ahead in this. Have they become a band of minor pleasures, or can they still make your heart sing? No Songs of Wisdom and Hope because it's not all their own work.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Bandwagonesque 14
Grand Prix 13
Songs from Northern Britain 11
A Catholic Education 2
Man-Made 1
Thirteen 1
Howdy! 0
Deep Fried Fanclub (included on basis of being studio stuff unavailable elsewhere) 0
The King 0
Shadows 0


ithappens, Monday, 5 July 2010 10:45 (nine years ago) link

Shadows has a surprising number of great tunes. Voted Grand Prix.

Simon H., Monday, 5 July 2010 10:52 (nine years ago) link

A vote against Bandwagonesque is a vote against reason.

ABSOLUTELY NO SCRUBS WHATSOEVER, Monday, 5 July 2010 10:55 (nine years ago) link

Thirteen is seriously underrated though.

ABSOLUTELY NO SCRUBS WHATSOEVER, Monday, 5 July 2010 10:57 (nine years ago) link

grand prix > thirteen/sfnb > bandwagonesque. latter sounds somewhat jejune these days, altho still enjoyable.

postcards from the (ledge), Monday, 5 July 2010 11:17 (nine years ago) link

Yep, was listening to Thirteen the other day and thinking it was full of really terrific songs. Gene Clark's simply wonderful.

ithappens, Monday, 5 July 2010 11:28 (nine years ago) link

Grand Prix is better than Bandwagonesque. They should be playing that one in full instead.

PaulTMA, Monday, 5 July 2010 13:34 (nine years ago) link

Songs from Northern Britain is my pick.

Boo Radley (Bee OK), Monday, 5 July 2010 14:40 (nine years ago) link

Could have voted for Bandwagonesque (one of my favorite albums ever) or Grand Prix but I've played Songs from Northern Britain the most recently. "Ain't That Enough", "I Don't Want Control of You", "It's a Bad World", and "Take the Long Way Around" would be an incredible EP.

skip, Monday, 5 July 2010 16:09 (nine years ago) link

Listening through Grand Prix now I want to change my mind.

skip, Monday, 5 July 2010 16:11 (nine years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Saturday, 10 July 2010 23:01 (nine years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Sunday, 11 July 2010 23:01 (nine years ago) link

ILM is OTM again. though i still think SFNB is their best.

Boo Radley (Bee OK), Monday, 12 July 2010 01:05 (nine years ago) link

I can't help get the feeling that some people don't know any TFC post-Thirteen

PaulTMA, Monday, 12 July 2010 01:32 (nine years ago) link

Those are by far the three best albums, though I do like A Catholic Education more than I probably should.

skip, Monday, 12 July 2010 02:03 (nine years ago) link

howdy & dff both better albums than these results would lead you to believe, but not classics either..

i broke it; it was going well (electricsound), Monday, 12 July 2010 02:06 (nine years ago) link

howdy and man-made were very under-produced but howdy had better songs
sfnb is my favorite

buzza, Monday, 12 July 2010 02:18 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

to whom it may concern

I have this vinyl reissue of A Catholic Education on Fire Records and it doesn't sound very good. That is, the sound is very clear, but the guitars don't sound loud and trebly enough. I don't have my CD with me so I can't find out if it's my transitional stereo messing the sound up or what.

bamcquern, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 06:30 (seven years ago) link

it's probably just a bad repress... those new vinyl reissues always seem to sound like garbage. And obviously it's not the world's most hi-fi record.

skip, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 15:26 (seven years ago) link

I have a Giant Sand record on Fire, but it's not a reissue so I have no comparison. A shame if they all sound bad, I like the records Fire chooses to release.

Evan, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 16:32 (seven years ago) link

four years pass...

http://noisey.vice.com/blog/rank-your-records-teenage-fanclub-norman-blake

Norman ranks the albums.

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 1 September 2016 23:14 (two years ago) link

he has good taste in his own music!

Dumb dumb dumb is lovely

sktsh, Friday, 2 September 2016 11:14 (two years ago) link

I'm glad to see "Dumb Dumb Dumb" get a special mention, it's a beautiful song and a great arrangement.

michaellambert, Friday, 2 September 2016 12:12 (two years ago) link

Odd to read someone above describe Howdy as under-produced. It and SFNB are kitchen sink productions

PaulTMA, Friday, 2 September 2016 13:12 (two years ago) link

That was a great read. A Catholic Education was too high and Thirteen was too low for me. Nice to see Howdy get a decent position. Always thought that was their most underrated record.

Kitchen Person, Friday, 2 September 2016 14:33 (two years ago) link

Thirteen is really good. Maybe one good song short of a great record.

pinkhushpuppies (rip van wanko), Friday, 2 September 2016 14:39 (two years ago) link

The ranking of the top three is pretty much how I'd rank 'em. I love Grand Prix, although when I listened to it recently I was struck by how 1995 the production sounded.

There was a great advertisement for Grand Prix in one of the music weeklies.

Yeah. We were with Creation at the time in the UK, and Alan (McGee) is a great friend of ours. They would spend money on random ideas. So there was a reviewer I think in Melody Maker who gave us a scathing review. He hated the band. But everyone else had given us good reviews. So we thought, “How can we stick a finger up to Melody Maker?” And what we did was, and Creation was up for this, we took the back page of Melody Maker and we had ten quotes that said, like, “amazing album” and “album of the year,” and then we put his quote of something like, “this band should be thrown into the trash bin of history.” It was based on this cat food commercial from the 1970s that said, “Nine out of ten cats prefer Whiskas.” So we took the ten quotes and wrote, “Nine out of ten cats prefer Teenage Fanclub.” It cost Creation like three grand to do that, but it was such a nice way to say fuck you!

^ <3 this!

the hair - it's lost its energy (Turrican), Friday, 2 September 2016 15:28 (two years ago) link

first side of Thirteen maybe their best. The rest of it imo is mixed but with some gems.

Miss TFC with that layer of fuzz on top ca. Bandwagonesque and Thirteen

Master of Treacle, Friday, 2 September 2016 18:03 (two years ago) link

the fannies are an odd-band for me in that i love them but i don't find any of their albums to be an unimpeachable classic, and whenever they bring a new one out im only marginally interested.

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Friday, 2 September 2016 18:04 (two years ago) link

agree, even Bandwagonesque doesn't totally work as an album experience (despite my love of all the songs)

the most fascinating tidbit from that piece was that their decision to go the "harmonies" route was influenced by some american punk-grunger! genius intuition there, however

pinkhushpuppies (rip van wanko), Friday, 2 September 2016 18:11 (two years ago) link

it's such a defining factor of their sound, like catholic education really stands out from the rest of the discography because of its relative dearth of harmonies

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Friday, 2 September 2016 18:12 (two years ago) link

i.e. i haven't listened to it in ages but isn't everything flows like the only classic teenage fanclub sounding song on it? (also my favourite teenage fanclub song)

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Friday, 2 September 2016 18:13 (two years ago) link

"God Knows It's True" is to me what EF is to you, also kinda fits the latter TFC mold. (that is on CE, right?)

pinkhushpuppies (rip van wanko), Friday, 2 September 2016 18:15 (two years ago) link

no, same period tho, maybe a non-album single?

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Friday, 2 September 2016 18:39 (two years ago) link

yeah that was non-LP

Everybody's Fool is my favorite off CE

it's true I kinda don't think any of their albums are amazing from start to finish, but there are so many great songs throughout their catalog, it would be easy to make a v impressive and consistent box set or greatest "hits"

Οὖτις, Friday, 2 September 2016 18:41 (two years ago) link

there is a commercially available one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Thousand_Seven_Hundred_and_Sixty-Six_Seconds_%E2%80%93_A_Short_Cut_to_Teenage_Fanclub

including the dreaded "new songs recorded for this compilation" why do people do this?

mizzell, Friday, 2 September 2016 18:45 (two years ago) link

to get completists to buy it for the new tracks? no mystery there

Οὖτις, Friday, 2 September 2016 18:47 (two years ago) link

I think Bandwagonesque - Thirteen - Grand Prix - Songs from Northern Britain is an amazing run, but never got why Grand Prix was favored by so many, it's my least favorite of the four.

mizzell, Friday, 2 September 2016 18:48 (two years ago) link

yeah ok, it's annoying though.
xp

mizzell, Friday, 2 September 2016 18:50 (two years ago) link

I would love to hear the "Grand Prix" album played by Oasis

calstars, Friday, 2 September 2016 20:23 (two years ago) link

I think Bandwagonesque - Thirteen - Grand Prix - Songs from Northern Britain is an amazing run, but never got why Grand Prix was favored by so many, it's my least favorite of the four.

― mizzell

I'd put Grand Prix ahead of Thirteen. Songs From Northern Britain and Banwagonesque are my two favourites. I'd include Howdy in that great run too. The two albums they've done since do absolutely nothing for me.

Kitchen Person, Friday, 2 September 2016 20:53 (two years ago) link

Bandwagonesque is their apex. A perfect album without filler. Great blend of melody and noise. I also love the folky bits which show which place they come from. Bagpipes have got this amazing ringing drone quality.

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 2 September 2016 21:05 (two years ago) link

A perfect album without filler.

there are at least two tracks that the band themselves acknowledge as filler iirc

Οὖτις, Friday, 2 September 2016 21:06 (two years ago) link

including the dreaded "new songs recorded for this compilation" why do people do this?

"Did I Say" is probably one of my 5 or 6 fave TF songs.

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Friday, 2 September 2016 21:07 (two years ago) link

there are at least two tracks that the band themselves acknowledge as filler iirc
Never trust the artist's judgement of his own work.

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 2 September 2016 21:34 (two years ago) link

#takemytime

calstars, Saturday, 3 September 2016 01:30 (two years ago) link

#findmyway

calstars, Saturday, 3 September 2016 01:31 (two years ago) link

Would be cool if ilx could hyperlink hashtags

calstars, Saturday, 3 September 2016 01:31 (two years ago) link

thanks for that link, some great stuff.

This is still Songs From Northern Britain.

Bee OK, Saturday, 3 September 2016 01:44 (two years ago) link

The new album is streaming on NPR

http://www.npr.org/2016/09/01/491518447/first-listen-teenage-fanclub-here

Kitchen Person, Tuesday, 6 September 2016 04:02 (two years ago) link

I got a bit bored/blasé about them after Songs From Northern Britain - every record since Grand Prix has felt more-or-less interchangeable - and the best songs are always Gerry's. Guess I should check the Lightships record - anyone heard it?

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 6 September 2016 12:37 (two years ago) link

there were a couple of good tracks on the lightship album, notably "the warmth of the sun", "stretching out", "photosynthesis" and "sunlight to the dawn".

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Tuesday, 6 September 2016 14:03 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

"Here" is good though maybe their lowest stakes album since "Howdy." I keep playing "The Darkest Part of the Night," probably because it's from the same template as "I Don't Want Control of You."

geoffreyess, Thursday, 27 October 2016 20:30 (two years ago) link

Also, terrific show last week. Like, one of the best sounding bands I've ever seen. Don't look to the albums for signs of mellowing.

geoffreyess, Thursday, 27 October 2016 20:32 (two years ago) link

#mellowdoubt

geoffreyess, Thursday, 27 October 2016 20:32 (two years ago) link

the back half of the new one feels v minor-key + meandering - I liked Shadows more on the whole

Οὖτις, Thursday, 27 October 2016 20:33 (two years ago) link

Same here with darkest part of the night!

Nothing here can touch baby lee, but I think I like this one more overall.

sktsh, Thursday, 27 October 2016 20:48 (two years ago) link

Baby lee is the worst :(

quis gropes ipsos gropiuses? (ledge), Thursday, 27 October 2016 20:52 (two years ago) link

lunacy

sktsh, Thursday, 27 October 2016 21:08 (two years ago) link

<3 that song

rip van wanko, Thursday, 27 October 2016 21:21 (two years ago) link

it's p good but there are better songs on the album imo

Οὖτις, Thursday, 27 October 2016 21:29 (two years ago) link

The First Sight is one of their best-ever songs

PaulTMA, Friday, 28 October 2016 10:59 (two years ago) link

So I'm loving this new one, in spite of (because of?) the 'meandering / minor key' vibe mentioned upthread. I think, in my old age, I really prefer melodic, slow-and-stoned Fannies to melodic uptempo Big Star-y Fannies. After 3 or four listens, this may be my favorite since SONB.

I love how "I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive" kind of becomes an entirely different song at the end. Agree with the highlights already mentioned ("The Darkest Part Of The Night," "The First Sight") but oh man, the last third of this record is a real beaut. Love the guitar on "It's A Sign." Actually, the guitar sounds in general are terrific.

My friend calls this band "The Fountains Of Wayne It's OK To Like"

Wimmels, Friday, 28 October 2016 20:10 (two years ago) link

I'm still starting every morning with this record. Definitely my favorite since Songs Of Northern Britain

Wimmels, Thursday, 3 November 2016 14:34 (two years ago) link

Yeah, the new album is surprisingly great. I might agree that it's their best singles Northern Britain, although I really I like Howdy.

Kitchen Person, Thursday, 3 November 2016 14:54 (two years ago) link

The new album is wonderful. There is hardly a bad song on it. They still have the knack for those innocent naive melodies. Probably their second best after Bandwagonesque.

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 4 November 2016 22:36 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

I love it on 'Get Funky' when you hear "howdy disco citizens" at the beginning. Sounds like it could be a direct sample from ABC's 'A to Z', actually!

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 20:54 (three months ago) link


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