Teenage Fanclub – Grand Prix


1. As far as 1995 British rock goes, Grand Prix is a lot better than (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and The Great Escape; power pop has been around since the 70s (and is, essentially, a continuation of the best pop/rock music from the 60s) and has still kept going today. Britpop, on the other hand, lasted half a decade. Broader, as far as 1990s power pop goes, Grand Prix is a lot better than yr. Matthew Sweet’s or yr. Weezer’s because Teenage Fanclub’s various singer and songwriters (all of whom sound the same and write the same songs, by the way) are less whiny than Sweet or Rivers Cuomo. (Though they’re still whiny, of course: “It gives me pain, when I think of you”; “You had a guuuuurlfriennnnn / That wasn’t good enough for you.”) But it’s better than those records/artists because it has more tune: the sky-wide opening harmonies of “About You” (one of those songs where the band plays their hand in the song’s opening 15 seconds, but where those opening 15 seconds are glorious – reminds me of other punchy, harmony-rich openers like Neil Young’s “Tell Me Why” or The Soft Boys’ “I Wanna Destroy You”); the bass transition (no shit, just the transition! It’s a fucking riff and they use it as a fucking transition!) of “Sparky’s Dream”; the solid vocal melody showing off the singer’s diction over crystal-clear arpeggios on “Verisimilitude” (and each line punctuated by a cymbal hit), and the entirety of “Neil Jung,” though the title’s “pun” is meaningless. Of course, power pop often being awkward lyrically and sonically, they can’t resist falling into its trap: “Tears” sulks on stilts; the whisper-hum harmonized solo of “Mellow Doubt” was a bad idea.

2. “Hardcore / Ballad” is useless. And yes, if the band thought it deserved to be its own song, then this deserved to be its own point.


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