This Day In History (November 4)

On November 4, 1991, Creation Records released Bandwagonesque  by the Glasgow band Teenage Fanclub. Bandwagonesque was chosen as “Album of the Year” in the SPIN magazine year-end poll, ahead of such releases as Nirvana’s Nevermind. Naturally, this has caused controversy in the 23 years that have elapsed since then, and I won’t get into that here. What I will say is that, of all the releases of 1991, I listen to Bandwagonesque most often. It is a shimmering and timeless beauty, balancing glorious harmonies, alternately chiming and grinding guitars, and clever songcraft.

Ah, but you want proof, discerning blog readers that you are. Sometimes I prefer its upbeat pop classics, such as “Metal Baby”:

I included an appreciation of the sweet “Sidewinder” in my essay “Dextrose Rides Again,” featured in the anthology Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, so I should play that, too:

Then there’s “Alcoholiday,” which reduces me to swooning or tears, depending on my mood. Legend has it that late, lamented Big Star frontman Alex Chilton also wept when he first heard it…it’s that gorgeous, folks:

Here is the major advantage that Teenage Fanclub has over Nirvana: the Fanclub exists to this day, with a long and varied song catalog, fun side projects (try the New Mendicants!), and occasional concert tours. You have to love that!





2 thoughts on “This Day In History (November 4)

  1. I remember holding that copy of SPIN in my hands at the mall and feeling the vindication just flow through me. I didn’t give half a farthing for Nirvana in 1991 (I’ve since learned to love them, too). TF is the band that changed it all for me, that taught me a guitar COULD do as much if not more than a keyboard. One listen to “Is This Music?” tells you all that and more. Yes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Fanclub is such a versatile band, and I’ve never really understood why they’ve flown under the radar for so long. (I suspect that that may be the problem from a marketing standpoint, the way it often has been with Sloan…when multiple members write and sing, encompassing different styles in the process, it’s hard to distill a band down to a quick sound bite or advertising angle.) It’s funny about the whole Nirvana aspect…I remember when Sassy magazine had a sweepstakes where you could win a trip to see the Fanclub open for Nirvana in the UK. I entered, thinking that I’d have a great chance of winning because there probably weren’t that many American TFC fans. Then Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hit, and I knew they’d be deluged with entries. Sigh. Anyway, I never had strong feelings one way or the other about Nirvana during the NEVERMIND juggernaut (I distinctly remember Rolling Stone’s 3-star review of the record, for some reason). I had to hear some of the lesser-known material, and find out that Kurt Cobain loved a lot of the stuff I do (Beat Happening! Cheap Trick! The Kids In The Hall!) before I could develop real affection for Nirvana…


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