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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 6 April 2016
I have never written a review on Amazon unless I've just bought something, but I have just realised how cruelly this album has been treated. I love the Fanclub and this is my favourite album by them - and there are so many other greats. I don't understand how this has been so panned though - from the opening Bolanesque chords of Hang On to the understated Ret Liv Dead, this is an lp replete with harmony and class. I remember sitting with a bunch of mates on New Year's Eve in 1993 agreeing that this was the album of the year. It doesn't matter which album your favourite Fanclub is, but don't discount this at all.
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on 23 February 2017
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on 15 May 2010
This album, the follow-up to the deservedly well-received Bandwagonesque, was dismissed as disappointing on its original release but listening to it now, some 17 years later, it sounds almost as pleasing as anything in their canon.
Okay, it's not quite as stupendously great as Bandwagonesque, Grand Prix or Songs From Northern Britain but then few albums are.
The harmonies are there, the songs are consistently strong and only the occasionally thin production lets them down. However, anyone who cares for this band will love this album.
While I'm at it, it's worth saying: Big Star were good but not as good as Teenage Fanclub. So there.
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on 18 October 2015
Not sure why this was lambasted so much at the time, by the standards then it was great and it has withstood the test of time, I've recently rediscovered it thanks to the BBC indie tv documentaries and am loving it all over again.
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on 13 April 2002
Going by what reviews I had read of the fanclub, this appeared to be their weakest effort and so I bought it with caution lastly. I can see no faults in it whatsoever.
Here are a list of the songs
Hang on - Great heavy/quiet song beautiful melody (Love)
The Cabbage - Ridiculously catchy rocker (Blake)
Radio - Fast rocker-reminiscent of starsign (Love)
Norman 3 - Beautiful song, great guitars, one of the best moments on the album (Blake)
Song to the cynics - Lovely guitar work, cute lyrics (Love)
100 mins - One of the best songs on the album, haunting melody (McGinley)
Escher - amazingly good tune, wonderful guitars (Blake)
Commercial alternative - Fine tune fine lyrics (Blake)
Fear of flying - Yet another standout, slowburner and hauting tune (Love)
Tears are cool - Another beautiful Raymond melody and truly touching lyrics. Perhaps the prettiest song on the album (McGinley)
Ret Liv Dead - Soaring melody, lovely compact audaciously superb classic fanclub (Blake)
Get Funky - Funky little instrumental (Fanclub)
Gene Clark - Fantastic mind blowing gorgeous ending to a wonderful album (Love)
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on 7 April 2001
I already had Grand Prix & Songs From Northern Britain, two 5 star albums. So when I bought Thirteen I was looking forward to another great album.
I listened to it once, then stuck the CD back in it's case and onto my shelf where it gathered dust for a while. This album sounded really poor, like anything had just been stuck together. Then one day I decided to give it another listen, I was hooked!
Thirteen is still TFC, perhaps the guitars are just louder than normal here and there, it does sound a bit rushed and the production of the album isn't quite as good as usual. But despite not sounding as polished as other TFC albums, this album still has a certain charm and appeal.
"Norman 3" is my fave off the album, "120 Mins" is sweet enough for any other TFC album and among others, "Radio" and the excellent "Song To The Cynic" are also top tunes. This album is probably Teenage Fanclub musically at their worst but it still gets 4/5. That just shows the quality of (who must be) the most forgotten band of recent times. TFC fans will know what I'm talking about.
If you haven't got any TFC album, then buy Grand Prix, S.F.N.B. or Bandwagonesque first. Then consider this one.
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on 19 August 2012
Since 1989 the cheerily named Teenage Fanclub have been producing agreeable indie rock, that is deeply indebted to a number of 'worthy' rock icons of the 1960s and 1970s, like Neil Young. With this 13 song collection, did they decide they would change that steady, tried-tested-and-trusted formula and create a record of 20 Jazz-Funk greats? No, they definitely did not. Instead, they stuck rigidly to their methods - you can see that in their decision to pay tribute to a member of the 1960s rock group The Byrds in song ('Gene Clark'), and to give the album the same title as a song by the cult 1970s American rock group Big Star (with whom they are frequently compared). The results of the continuation of that approach - as critics and fans have both suggested - are decidedly mixed.

Undoubtedly, the high point of this their 4th studio album is the single 'Radio', this exuberant guitar-driven jangle wouldn't have sounded out of place on the band's best LP, Bandwagonesque. The opener - the ballad 'Hang On'- isn't bad either. And the brief 'Ret Liv Dead' effectively manages to mesh anguish, feedback and strings in a 129 second burst.

But too often forgettable slow- and mid-paced melodies are buried deep beneath waves of angry, sludgy, distorted guitar on the self-produced Thirteen; a song such as the limpid 'Fear of Flying' seems to me to be pretty much indistinguishable from the dismally-titled 'Norman 3' . And that underwhelming impression isn't eased by the bitter and disillusioned tone of the lyrics to the likes of '120 Mins' and 'Song To The Cynic' (which seem quite close to the feelings about fame and self-loathing expressed by Nirvana on In Utero). I think that some of the words to the aforementioned 'Fear of Flying' seem apposite whenever I listen to Thirteen: "I've never looked for answers in a song/Ain't got no good ideas, I'm staring at the sun/Don't always look for comfort in a song". It is perhaps little wonder that upon its release, on Creation Records in 1993, it sold "like iced lollies on a cold day", as music journalist Andrew Mueller has put it.
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on 12 February 2003
"Do you know when I was young, I'd paint my face, for the latest taste? Baby, justify the reason behind your style, find a phase that fits and stay there for a while". That segment of the single Radio says it all - this was Teenage Fanclub deliberately avoiding releasing an album similar to the much-loved Bandwagonesque, and attacking the music journos who had hyped them as the next big thing. Its thus ironic that Radio is the most catchy, and probably best, track on show.
Although it starts promisingly, with Hang On's strings and sensitivity, The Cabbage's scathing lyrics yet jaunty tune, and Radio, things quickly go a little more awry. Norman 3 is a pretty big offender - the repeated lyric gets very dull at the end, making for a peculiar choice of single, and its no surprise that it faield to trouble the charts. Plenty of the others just go on too long and fail to quite strike the right emotional chords.
All the same, a few tracks do. 120 Minutes and especially Fear Of Flying are slow-burners with impeccable style and poise, with a lovely "Hey hey hey" added to the outro of the latter.
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on 8 October 2015
This is a terrific LP.

Personally, I prefer it over both Bandwagonesque & Grand Prix - 2 great, but (in my opinion) slightly overrated records.

Thirteen's mood is often downbeat but the melodies are gorgeous & the performances / production are spot-on.

The CD will set you back mere pence nowadays, & the climatic "Gene Clark" alone is worth that.
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