Personnel: Frank Black (vocals, guitar); Lyle Workman, Joey Santiago, Morris Tepper (guitar); Eric Drew Feldman (bass, keyboards, synthesizers); Nick Vincent (drums, bass).
Producers: Eric Drew Feldman, Al Clay, Frank Black.
Recorded at American, Calabasas, California.
Personnel: Frank Black (vocals, guitar); Lyle Workman (guitar); Eric Drew Feldman (keyboards, synthesizer); Nick Vincent (drums).
Audio Mixer: David Bianco.
Recording information: American, Calabasas, CA; Can-Am, Los Angeles, CA; Castle Oaks, Calabasas, CA; The Chapel, Los Angeles, CA; The Clunhouse, Burbank, CA.
Photographer: Michael Halsband.
Frank Black, the anti-fashion rock chameleon, has done it again. Onetime leader of the Pixies, Black has taken his legion of alternative rock fans for another loop on his roller coaster. This time, as a self-confessed fan of "Freedom Rock," Black, yet again, is having another funny at the expense of the critics and fans who tried in vain during the 1980s to describe his sound.
Black's is a sound that embodies science-fiction fetishism with a good taste of guitar Americana, one that emerged as "alternative rock" then rebirthed itself to find the Pixies disbanded. Black rose from the ashes of Black Francis, the nerd in flannel who whined about his girlfriend in a parking lot, as his own man. TEENAGER OF THE YEAR finds Black hashing out the staples of Freedom Rock with the focus on the right place. Obsessing over what exactly rock in the 1990s is, Black sees the "scheming bohemia," but wraps it in layers of accomplished rock arrangements. What makes Black excel past the confines of the "alternative rock" he crawled out from under is his confidence in pure rock songwriting. Now beyond the lure of being "cutting edge," Black is getting back to his roots of the rock he grew up with, and is not ashamed.
Why TEENAGER OF THE YEAR? Possibly, Black realizes that by clipping rock down to its bonsai elements, maybe rock will get real again. There's no harm in tricky Beach Boy-esque harmonies, and none in numerous references to the kitschy devices we clutter our lives with. Black's all-star band makes for a strong album chock full of rock idiom, but devoid of cliche.
Rolling Stone (8/25, p.89) - 3.5 Stars - Good - "...an epic collection of 22 powerful songs that often equals--if not surpasses--his best work with the Pixies..."
Spin (7/94, p.68) - "...Frank Black's refusenik readymades are the catchiest form of lifelessness around..."
Entertainment Weekly (6/3/94, p.60) - "...Black adopts a slightly less sprawling sound but maintains his penchant for turbulent, eclectic pop....Poetic visionary or lovable crackpot? You be the judge...." - Rating: A-
Musician (6/94, p.80) - "...Black has loosened up, hunkered down and put together a killer Senior Variety Show....a happy sprawl of an album that holds together even as it offers some wild contrasts....What unifies [TEENAGER OF THE YEAR] is its off-the-cuff wit and warmth--it tumbles along like Black's version of THE BASEMENT TAPES..."
NME (Magazine) (5/28/94, p.34) - 8 - Excellent - "...At the very least, the second Frank Black LP is the soundtrack album of the year; can't wait to see the movie..."