Music Reviews

Teenage Fanclub

Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds: A Shortcut to Teenage Fanclub


Life has a way of tossing surprises at you, twisting to meet some predestined fate. If you believe in fate, that is. Or if you prefer, life has a way meeting you exactly where you intended. The same came be said of Teenage Fanclub. They, actually their music, met me exactly when I needed it – either by accident or purposefully.

I first discovered Teenage Fanclub in 1991. I was trying to get laid. Isn’t that how all rock n’ roll stories begin?

I was in high school, and “talking” with a young lady. We were both new to the school and town, so we immediately gravitated towards one another. One day I went to her house after school. She drove. She lived in this enormous home, cupped in a high-gated community. I was in awe. The only time I had seen such gates was when I was attempting to jump them to either break-in or run away.

We walked in, and, for reasons that are no longer clear, she went to change clothes. I began to poke around her parents’ CD collection. (A habit I still have when nervous.) Most of the records were familiar, and my fifteen year-old self was impressed by some of the bands that were represented. I thought I was the only one in town who owned CDs by the Pixies, the Stone Roses, Redd Kross and Nirvana (pre-_Nevermind_)… and then I stumbled across a bright pink record with a yellow moneybag on it. I pulled it out of its slot, turned it over and read its slender side label: Teenage Fanclub. Bandwagonesque. Intrigued, I asked her from an adjacent room, “Who is the Teenage Fanclub?”

She appeared from an alcove and nonchalantly explained, “Oh, that’s one of my father’s bands.”

“What?” My mind was roaming for an answer.

“He manages them.”

Oh, fuck, the girl of my dreams! Or is it the father? “Cool. Can I borrow it?”

“Sure. I don’t know if you’ll like it though.”

I searched for a CD player, found one and inserted, as I later learned, the Fanclub’s first major US release. As “The Concept” floated through the air, I was flabbergasted, and instantly fell in love with its soul-wrenching guitars and beautiful arrangement. I eventually forgot all about the girl.

So began my love affair with Teenage Fanclub.

Now, nearly thirteen years later, they have released a retrospective, Four Thousand Seven hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds: A Shortcut to Teenage Fanclub, which serves as a veritable greatest hits record. Everything on this album is incredible, especially the three new, previously unreleased tracks “The World’ll Be Ok,” “Empty Space” and “Did I Say.”

This record is immersed with a wide-range of material from the pre-grunge sound of “Everything Flows” to the pure pop of “I Need Direction” to the Big Star influenced Bandwagonesque-era “Star Sign.” There are other gems, too.

“Your Love Is the Place That I Come From” pulls at negative emotion, without being sentimental. (Incidentally, Nick Hornsby, author of High Fidelity and About a Boy, recently released a book of 31 essays that features a heart-wrenching account of Teenage Fanclub playing an acoustic versions of “Your Love…”)

Take this to mean you are now ordained to visit a record store and (re)acquaint yourself with Teenage Fanclub. Or, if you prefer, just make the all-important life decision to purchase 4,666. You’ll not be disappointed. I promise.

Jetset Records:

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