And so to the headliners…
It was twenty years ago very nearly to the day that Teenage Fanclub released the self-produced Thirteen, making it one of the first of many albums I bought during my undergraduate years. Well, what else was a student grant for in the 1990s?
The follow-up to the critically lauded Bandwagonesque, Thirteen failed to find the same love from reviewers, who were perhaps nonplussed by the slightly soft production of what feels like a generally lighter set of songs than its predecessor.
Mostly, folks have come to their senses in the intervening years, and realised what I knew all along, namely that Thirteen is just another great Teenage Fanclub album: “Radio” should have been a much bigger hit, “Norman 3”, “Song to the Cynic” and “120 Mins” provide a rich, sweet center, while “Hang On” and “Gene Clark” stride the start and end of the album like twin colossuses - the former a sun-kissed update of “The Concept”, the latter a not too distant cousin of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer”.
Apologies, by the way, for the iffy sound quality on the video. Good old VHS eh? Still, what’s not to cherish about the fact that a twenty year old US TV appearance is available at the click of a mouse?