The bronze medal slot in my favourite songs rundown goes to Glasgow’s finest, Teenage Fanclub, with the ramshackle charm of “Everything Flows”, their tuneful opening statement of intent from 1990.
Perhaps my most beloved group – and the inspiration for the original name of this blog – it would therefore seem tough to pick just one song from dozens of equally worthy Teenage Fanclub candidates. However, using the same logic as with my number 11 pick My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” album, I then decided against choosing an individual track from any of their three best, equally masterful LPs – 1991’s “Bandwagonesque” 1995’s “Grand Prix” and 1997’s “Songs From Northern Britain” – and decided my selection has to be their debut single, eternal live set closer and signature song “Everything Flows”. Despite so many listens over the years, “Everything Flows”’ insistently churning riff, yearning melody and wistful lyrics that “I’ll never know which way to flow, set a course that I don’t know” always deliver a perfect hit of euphorically nostalgic pure joy, especially when capping off a reliably gleeful live show.
A group that looked primed for much bigger success on the back of 1991’s “Bandwagonesque” (which was voted US rock mag Spin’s album of that year, beating “Nevermind”, “Out Of Time” etc) and strong Kurt Cobain approval when the Nirvana frontman dubbed them “the best band in the world”, Teenage Fanclub’s admiral refusal to play the music business game and instead proceed on their own terms makes them an even more cherished group. Always making great records, but certainly peaking with those aforementioned three albums, the Fanclub’s three distinct songwriters Norman Blake, Gerry Love and Raymond McGinley help to give the band even more depth and have surely encouraged each other to increasingly greater heights of tuneful pop genius over the years.
Teenage Fanclub were interviewed on Snub TV in December 1990 and outlined some of their main influences, naming Dinosaur Jr, Neil Young, Big Star and Sonic Youth. Songs by all these acts feature in my top 25, as do other clear antecedents The Byrds and Gene Clark, with Teenage Fanclub naming a song in homage to the mighty Gene on 1993’s “Thirteen” album. Acknowledging many of my favourite noisy and melodic rockers is one thing, then making records that at least match them all over nine “proper” studio albums (not counting the oddity that is “The King”) is another thing entirely. Although a slightly cosier listen in more recent times, Teenage Fanclub’s sun-kissed harmonies seasoned with just the right amount of grit remains the perfect recipe for me and many other equally besotted fans.
VIDEOS AND OTHER STUFF
- “Everything Flows” on YouTube (audio only)
- “Everything Flows” live plus interview on Snub TV, December 1990
- “Everything Flows” live at Reading Festival 1991
- Bonus: “What You Do To Me/Satan” on The Word
- Other great Teenage Fanclub songs that just missed out include: God Knows It’s True, Alcoholiday, Star Sign, The Concept, Hang On, Radio, Sparky’s Dream, Don’t Look Back, Neil Jung, Discolite, Ain’t That Enough, Start Again, Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From, Near You, I Need Direction, I Can’t Find My Way Home, It’s All In My Mind, Baby Lee, I’m In Love, The Darkest Part Of The Night.
- “Everything Flows” is featured on my 379 to 50: 1 to 25 Spotify playlist
- Also featured on my 379: Indie So to Y Spotify playlist
2 thoughts on “379 to 50: #3 “Everything Flows” by Teenage Fanclub”
Pingback: Jumping Fences To Wichita: my 100 favourite songs | No Longer Teenage Fan Club
Pingback: My top 10 albums: 2020 | No Longer Teenage Fan Club