Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Teenage Fanclub pines for a “Metal Baby”

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, we’re picking our favorite songs with the word “baby” in the title.

There’s nearly nothing to Teenage Fanclub’s fantastic “Metal Baby.” Its chords and structure couldn’t be much simpler, and its series of couplets tell the story of a girl who likes metal (music, that is). But via the magic of rock ’n’ roll—whatever fairy dust these Scots applied to all of 1991’s Bandwagonesque, which famously beat Nevermind as SPIN’s album of the year—it becomes transcendent and hard not to love. The narrator—presumably Norman Blake, who sings this one—is hot for his heavy metal-obsessed ladyfriend, but also a little scared of her. Which is all fine, since by the end of the song she’s “left the city with the heavy metal band.” His delivery, as usual, is sweet but almost disinterested, as if foretelling slacker-rock but not embracing its impenetrableness. The same could be said for most of Bandwagonesque, an album so delightful yet unassuming it’s no surprise that it’s been a bit overlooked as the years have passed. There was no deluxe reissue for its 20th birthday, despite the fact that it’s widely beloved by critics and a vocal core of fans. Maybe in 2016, when it turns 25…


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