‘The Undertones’ Turns 40

The old farts turn 40, but they are still able to give you the teenage kicks!

A friend once told me that if I ever feel sad or that life sucks, I should remember the fact that “Teenage Kicks” is the best track in the world and everything will be alright.

That is some of the best advice that I have ever been given. Because, regardless of whether “Teenage Kicks” is actually the best track in the world, The Undertones’ music is able to make people happy in a very special way.

But what makes The Undertones’ self-titled debut—released 40 years ago today—so special?

Well, back in the days, the Northern Irish five-piece, led by charismatic frontman Feargal Sharkey (yes, that’s his real name), were among the earliest inventors of the infectious new sound called power pop, perhaps best described as punk rock’s cute and polished little brother, where angst and aggression meets catchy and inspired melodies.

Tracks like “Here Comes The Summer”and “Jimmy Jimmy” are perfect examples: simple and a bit naïve, yet backed with a jolt of spunky power to ensure that the tracks never fall flat.

With subsequent generations power poppers, from Teenage Fanclub to Weezer to Charly Bliss, following their example, that potent formula has proven itself timeless, and helps explain why we’re still singing along to the The Undertones’ immortal classics 40 years later.