In the “Best First Songs on an Album” discussion, I’m making a Top 5 case for “The Concept.” Teenage Fanclub‘s kick start to Bandwagonesque (1991) is fangasmic for many reasons (see below), but it’s on the leadoff short list because who has the balls to begin an album with a 6 minute guitar epic?!?! Conventional wisdom it is not. However, the sequencing totally works. Bandwagonesque is nails throughout, but beginning it with “The Concept” was a stroke of genius.
Teenage Fanclub – The Concept
So, what is there to love about the power-pop “Maggot Brain”? In order of appearance:
- Feedback intro
- Chunky electric guitar
- Great vocal (Norman Blake)
- Great descending melody
- Cool lyrics
- More chunky electric guitar
- Beautiful vocal harmonies (“I didn’t want to hurt you, oh oh yeah!”)
- (:57-1:12) Gee, you think these guys might’ve been fans of Big Star‘s #1 Record?
- Blake, thine voice is sweet honey in the rock
- More Big Star zig into guitar solo zag … ahhhhhhhhh
- Did I mention chicken skin vocal harmonies?
- Aaaand false ending into drums into Abbey Road-esque vocals with subtly badass violin/electric guitar interplay
- Violin saw into outro guitar solos and what sounds like a synthesizer but could be an organ … fucking epic.