Saturday, August 01, 2009

Rock of Ages: Teenage Fanclub - "The Concept" (1991)

Power Pop, as stated before, is that throwback sound to the 60's groups like The Byrds, The Kinks and of course, The Beatles. Power Pop started with bands like Bad Finger and Big Star, who in the early 70's tried to keep the flag of pop infused power chords alive. Not as successful at it, they still made some of the best music of that era. It wouldn't be until the alt rock revolution of the 90's until Power Pop would find it's best audience. Bands like Teenage Fanclub raised this flag high, especially on their 1991 album Bandwagonesque which is a sprawling power pop masterpiece. It kicks off with the 6 minute power pop anthem "The Concept." The track has all the trappings of a great pop song. A catchy hook that runs through the verse chorus structure and your lazy but emotional vocal delivery that is quinessential for the 90's.

"The Concept" rocks out for a while and then turns into this sleepy outro filled with excellent guitar soloing and dreamy "ahhs" that coo and woo in and out until it finally slips into a deep sleep. It's a beautiful way to start Bandwagonesque and a fantastic song to listen to on a summers day drive. The power that Teenage Fanclub has with their music is that it's all bright and sunny sounding, but there is still that undercurrent in all their songs of some melancholy floating above it all. It's a dreamy song and it's power pop roots are blatantly obvious. This would help pave the landscape of the 90's just as much as grunge did for alt rock radio. Bands like Built to Spill, Weezer, The Lemonheads and more would come along and blend right in next to a band like Teenage Fanclub. Some of those bands saw more success, but Bandwagonesque was voted best album of 1991 by Spin Magazine, beating out the more popular Nevermind for the top spot. It's a testament of the time and a fantastic record with a great song in "The Concept."

Up Next: Nirvana, a 90's staple

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