Teenage Fanclub – Bandwagonesque (1991)
Did it hurt?
The question turns into either a pickup line or a zing depending on the follow-up:
a) The fall from Heaven?
(60% of the time, this line works every time)
b) When you bumped your leg jumping on the Bandwagon?
Hopping on the bandwagon (listening to a band only after they became successful) was frowned upon when I was a teenage music fan in the 90s. Even if being a teenage music fan isn’t always easy, this album brings back positive memories of that period of time.
Though not of listening to this album specifically: Bandwagonesque was, as my daughter would say upon receiving an item of second-hand clothing, new to me!
I was chatting recently with fellow blogger/Canadian music enthusiast Sarca about the brilliance of The Odds. The 90s were the glory days of Canadian Alt-rock. If you mix CanCon groups of the era like The Killjoys, Doughboys, and Odds, you’d end up with something that sounds an awful lot like Teenage Fanclub. And that is an awfully good combination.
It’s surprising Teenage Fanclub wasn’t on my radar as Bandwagonesque (great suffix) sounds a lot like my high school playlists, or should I say, mix tapes. I usually shorten album names in posts (such as The Who Sell Out to TWSO) but at the risk of being annoying, I can’t bring myself to do it here. The name is just too good. Bandwagonesque.
Teenage Fanclub managed to do two very impressive things here:
1) There are elements of groups I love that came before them, but the album does not sound remotely derivative.
2) Many groups I’ve enjoyed since were clearly inspired by this record, but none have been ruined for me after listening to Teenage Fanclub!
The clean+distorted guitar pairing is addictive, the melodies are consistently appealing, and to answer the rhetorical question in the Cure-esque closing instrumental (Is this Music?), yes it most certainly is and excellent music at that.
Did the listening experience hurt? Not at all.
100% of the time, Bandwagonesque works every time.