on 22 March 2003
A 'Greatest Hits' album from Teenage Fanclub doesn't really make much sense to me, for the simple reason that they've made such consistently great albums (with the possible exception of 'Thirteen') that I wouldn't know which songs to pick. If you've never heard of them before, this is your chance to get 21 songs/80 minutes of musical bliss. You won't regret it.
on 6 February 2003
10 years ago Teenage Fanclub beat Nirvana's Nevermind and REM's Out of Time in a US poll for album of the year. In humble response, the band retreated to Glasgow and have been making fine records since, making this greatest hits a timely and welcome release.
The trademark jangly guitars and sweet harmonys are here in abundance - The Birds and The Beach Boys are major influences - but the songs would be quickly forgotten were it not for their depth and sophistication that their immediacy belies.
This is a band that is far more than the sum of its parts. Not only are Norman, Gerry, and Raymond three fine singers in their own right, each are equally adept songwriters too.
One way to judge the strength of a greatest hits is to consider the tracks that had to be omitted: even on this 80min-CD, the band found no room for the sublime Alcoholiday or one of the delightful tracks on their Lost It EP.
The three new tracks good too and could justify a separate review. Suffice to say
they do not sound out of place alongside the 16 strongest songs of the band's career.
With a non-chronological running order, this collection showcases a phenomenally consistent band. Anyone familiar with their music will want a copy; those who are not are urged to buy one too: it will engender a lasting love affair.
on 31 January 2003
A decade on and a career retrospective from Glasgow's finest. Simple, beautifully crafted and melodic songs form the backbone of a collection which merely further proves the injustice of musical success. On the fringes of Britpop in the nineties before being almost criminally ignored as the decade closed, the 'Fannies' were doing then what Travis are doing now (yet with more wit and guile than Francis Healy could ever dream possible). Three new tracks 'The World'll be OK','Empty space' and 'Did I say' show no radical change of direction and are all the better for it, the latter being a classic Norman Blake offering. As a retrospective it chooses from all six Fanclub albums, concentrating most heavily on 'Grand Prix', their finest moment, from which five songs are taken. 'Neil Jung' & 'Sparkys dream' are as fresh as ever, harmonised power-pop of the highest degree. Arguably the album has glaring omissions (most notably 'Alcoholiday', 'Near you' and 'Discolite'), which could have replaced the odd track ('Hang on' wasn't even one of the best tracks on 'Thirteen'!) but herein lies the only grumble. Arguably nothing new for fans (three aforementioned tracks excepted) but an essential purchase for those yet to experience the pleasures of Teenage Fanclub. No hype, no intense marketing campaign, no fighting with the italian mafia and no duff track in sight. Categorise as you see fit - indie/pop/rock whatever, but surely what matters are fantastic songs which crave a wider audience. And at the end of the day, to quote Gerard Love, ain't that enough?
on 28 January 2003
This album has the potential to be pretty big. Like the Greatest Hits of The Beautiful South and Crowded House, many people will buy this for the singles that they never got around to buying. You see, Teenage Fanclub have always been one of those bands (like Gene) who have been overlooked in favour of the more mainstream (and therefore 'safe') bands for over a decade. Now and again they will release a single that will chart highly and you start to think "this could be it", but then no, back to being ignored. This is a real shame, as Teenage Fanclub have had a lot of classics over the years which the fans have appreciated but have been overlooked by the general public. This album brings them all together.
The tracklisting is not chronological, so we do not have the evolution of the band clearly spelt out - but the change has been big. From the guitar heavy The Concept (one of very few songs to mention Status Quo!) and Everything Flows to the Big Star-esque harmonies of Neil Jung and Ain't That Enough. This album contains more songs than you probably think you know. The titles may be unfamiliar, but you'll soon have that flick of recognition as you hear the opening bars of Radio or the melody of I Don't Want Control Of You.
As well as containing all the band's singles, there are also a couple of album tracks thrown in, including the divine Winter from 1997's Songs From Northern Britain album. For the completists among us, there's also a new song or two thrown in for good measure. These are not classic Teenage Fanclub songs, but continue in the vein of most recent (discounting the Jad Fair collaboration) album Howdy!
If you're a fan of the band, you're likely to have the majority of this album already. However, it's still worth buying for some nice photography/artwork in the booklet and the new songs.
If you're somebody who never got around to buying a TF single or album, then this is your chance. You won't be disappointed, as it is great value for money and there is not a bad song on the CD.
I once saw Teenage Fanclub play a stadium gig (it was as a support band) and they seemed very much at home. Perhaps if this album does well enough, they'll have enough fans to play a gig of that size again - but I won't hold my breath :)
on 30 January 2005
If you like guitars and a bit of pop and a bit of rock and guitars and harmonies and songs that can make your heart leap and your head nod and you haven't heard any teenage fanclub - buy this album. I missed the band when they first were doing the rounds. For some reason in my youthful lack of wisdom I had them down as a bit boring without ever listening to them. There were a couple of serious indie types in the sixth form who were really into them and put me off I think. And the album covers seemed a bit ropey to me.
Then last year I bought this CD for no particular reason. And I am not kidding it is an absolutely great and fantastic collection of songs. I feel like I missed out on 15 years of listening pleasure. Beautiful melodies with nice slabs of guitars and changes of tone and a bit of noise. But better than all that really. I was listening to this the other day on the train on the way to work and a lot of the songs just made you happy to be alive. They just made you feel that you didn't care - in a good way. Like when you don't care that you're going to be late, and that your job is rubbish, and that you're back on the train again - because the music is beautiful and people aren't so bad really and things are possible and well, so far so good. Buy this album - it is a cracker.
on 3 March 2003
I've always heard of teenage fanclub without ever paying much attention, and i've always heard good reviews for them without ever buying their records, so when this came out i thought it was my perfect oppurtunity. I'm becoming pretty disallusioned with the music scene at the moment and with no quality new bands coming to the fore it pays to look back at some bands who are cruelly overlooked - and teenage fanclub are one of those bands.
What we have here is a greatest hits, perfect fot those like me who want a sample of a band at their finest, and this a fantastic collection of songs perfect for singing along to. When i first heard them i thought they sounded like travis, only better - and seeing teenage fanclub came first i think thats only a good thing. Lovely melodies, beautiful harmonies and jangly guitars which sound timeless, always the sign of a great band.
Pick of the bunch for me would have to be the new song 'Did I Say', as well as 'Love Is The Place Where I Come From', an acoustic ballad Oasis would die to have written!
Based on this, Teenage Fanclub are better than most bands around - i urge you to buy this record, you won't regret it!!
I fell in love with Teenage Fanclub when i first heard 'Sparky's Dream' off their 'Grand Prix' album sometime in 1995. A shiver down the spine, perfect harmony filled pop influenced by the Byrds, Beatles & Big Star.
Since then i've bought and cherished all their albums from the rougher early days, 1990's 'A Catholic Education' up to and including the harmony filled delight of 2001's 'Howdy.'
This album collects the best tracks off all 6 albums and 3 new tracks, its a stunner. 'Everything Flows' is a rocking indie anthem. 'You're love is the Place where I come from' is a beutiful acoustic led ballad and 'I Need Direction' is the perfect harmony filled pop song and then you have another 18 songs to listen to. Its strange but the songs are just so joyous that they have the power to relax and make you feel content inside.
It seems the secret behind Teenage Fanclubs brilliance is that the have 3 exceptional songwriters all producing songs for the band. Of the 3 new songs Raymonds, The World'll Be Ok is the pick of the bunch.
This album is a great starting point for Teenage Fanclub, buy it. The only problem is once you've got it you'll want all of the rest of their albums too!
on 28 February 2013
Some of TFC's finest moments, and a great introduction to one the greatest British bands of all time, simple as that.
*apart from the Beatles
on 12 February 2003
Even if you have never heard of this band you should simply buy the album now. Certainly the best band to ever come out of Scotland, but more importantly, one of the greatest exponents of simple, beautiful and enduring pop songs that you are ever likely to hear. From the perfect Ain’t That Enough to a rocking Neil Jung (they wear their influences on their sleeves), Teenage Fanclub never fail to move you. Three songwriters, lots of guitars, melodies, harmonies and even a whistled solo in Mellow Doubt thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!
on 20 March 2014
The best band out of Scotland ever. Not a duff song on here and many more could have been included.