Benjamin Gibbard faithfully covers but adds a new spin to Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque
By Ashley Gallagher
Released 26 years ago this month, Teenage Fanclub’s third album Bandwagonesque has achieved a few milestones over time, like being named album of the year 1991 by Spin and having singles chart on Billboard. For many, this album was very noteworthy and significant, and for Benjamin Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab For Cutie, this was no exception. He has stated how important this album is for him and that it “came along at a pivotal time” in his life. After 25 years, he finally got around to covering it song for song.
Anyone who is familiar with Benjamin Gibbard knows that, as an artist, he tends to lean more on the indie rock side. He has a much softer sound in his music compared to Teenage Fanclub. He reworks the whole album to fit his sound without straying too much from the original sound the album possessed. “The Concept” is one of the most recognizable songs on the album, but with Gibbard, he adds in echoes and softer guitar parts on the song without compromising the mood of it all. Sometimes covers do not feel like the same song, but he does a good job keeping the original feeling while keeping his artistic integrity. “December” sounds very close to the original. As listeners, it is noticeable that Gibbard knows what he is doing. He takes the songs apart piece by piece in order to truly appreciate the whole song and it is evident across the album. As for the fan favorite “Star Sign,” Gibbard keeps the signature upbeat quality but adds more effects on the backing vocals than Teenage Fanclub would have.
It is quite clear that Gibbard is a fan of this album, for the songs still have the same nostalgic feeling, but with a small twist that does not distract from the original album. He stripped apart each of the songs in order to make a version to suit his voice. He clearly had fun changing around the parts and dissecting the album for what it is. This album is a must-listen if you are a fan of either the album or Death Cab For Cutie.