Songs from Northern Britain
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Though there is no good reason why every man, woman and child alive shouldn't own Teenage Fanclub's entire catalogue, Songs from Northern Britain is the closest they came to distilling their essence on one album. On Songs from Northern Britain, the disparate charms of its three predecessors are synthesized into a record that is as close to perfect as makes no odds: the glittering Big Star-like melodies of Bandwagonesque, the languid Byrdsian melancholy of Thirteen, the crystalline Mitch Easter styled pop production of Grand Prix. If Songs from Northern Britain is the ideal thumbnail sketch of Teenage Fanclub, then the first single, "Ain't That Enough" was an impeccable summary of the entire album: an irresistible melody, set to ringing Rickenbackers, carrying a chorus that encapsulated Teenage Fanclub's signature bleary optimism: "Here is a sunrise, ain't that enough?"
Songs from Northern Britain is also noteworthy for a growing lyrical confidence and maturity. Teenage Fanclub's three songwriters have always been eerily attuned to each other's sensibilities and whether by coincidence or design Songs finds Messrs Blake, Love and McGinley determined to see if there is a way of tempering the adolescent furies of rock & roll with the rueful wisdom of thirtysomethings who've been round the block once or twice. The answer, as demonstrated by "Start Again", "I Don't Want Control of You" and especially "Ain't That Enough", is a resounding yes. --Andrew Mueller
Top Customer Reviews
'Songs from Northern Britain' might well be regarded as a summary of everything that Teenage Fanclub stand for: eternally optimistic lyrics, uplifting melodies, soaring vocal harmonies all blended together into twelve irresistable tracks. From the moment the band's first jangling guitar chords in top 20 single 'Ain't That Enough' hit you until the final notes of 'Speed of Light' fade away, you are carried away to another place where nothing else really seems to matter, only that the music keeps on playing. It's only when you find yourself humming the tunes days later that you realise just how special these songs really are.
It's difficult, if not impossible, to pick out highlights, but Norman Blake's 'I Don't Want Control of You' with its sublime vocal harmonies overlying wave after wave of crystalline guitars is possibly the perfect pop song the Byrds never wrote, whilst 'Your Love is The Place...' (McGinley) is one of the simplest and yet most touching acoustic ballads ever composed.Read more ›
So I stick it on and have a listen. 'Not bad'. Then I guess I listened again, and again, and again. Wow it got stuck in there. I'm not one to idly bandy platitudes around the place, but the first 4 songs on this are pretty much perfect. If I was pressed for a personal favourite it would have to be the complete song, 'I don't want control of you'.
I listen to this album a lot, and without sounding to pompous it holds it's own amongst some very esteemed company.
The cover and artwork are at odds with themselves and the music contained within, or maybe they are not? The cheap thrills promise of a travelling funfair in juxtaposition with the stripped down beauty of the wilds of Scotland (I have assumed). If I'm honest the cover put me off for a while, don't let it do the same to you. This is magnificent.
Some years later I saw them play locally (around 2002) one of the best gigs I've been to, and I've been to a few. I've listened to everything they've done in the intervening years, but this was always the album for me. For some reason I always couple this with Paul Weller's Wild Wood. Not particularly similar, but I think they go together like chips and ketchup.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the Teenage Fanclub's masterpiece being infectious yet complicated and accessible yet subtle. Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2010 by D. L. Young
If you don't like this, you don't like music. Brilliant song after brilliant song, with not a hint of filler. Read morePublished on 10 Dec. 2008 by Amazon Customer
By 1997, anything vaguely grungy was out in the UK, and classic 60s harmonies were in vogue. Having came to prominance 6 years earlier as a sort of intellegent Big Star-influenced... Read morePublished on 12 Feb. 2003 by Martin