It's charming the way Fountains of Wayne write songs about white-collar schlubs in dead-end suburbs, crunching numbers in anonymity while that cute girl from first period winds up in Hollywood. But on the Jersey boys' third and most successful album, empathy lurks behind the sarcasm. Dig past the post-Cars new-wave/grunge snark of the first few tracks — particularly the MILF anthem "Stacy's Mom," which hit the Top 40 charts thanks to an MTV video featuring a near-naked supermodel — and Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood start flaunting the kind of songwriting chops that used to require a decade in the Brill Building to hone. "All Kinds of Time" is the most sensitive ballad ever written about a football player spacing out during the crucial moment of the big pass. In "Valley Winter Song," bleak gray days become a metaphor for a pretty girl's vanishing youth. "Halley's Waitress" is such an unapologetic Burt Bacharach homage — moody piano chords, soul guitar licks, plucked violin strings, falsetto vocals — that it's as if Schlesinger and Collingwood are begging anyone to get the reference. "Stuck in a meeting on Monday night/ Trying to get the numbers to come out right," Collingwood sings in "Little Red Light." Substitute the word "notes" for numbers, and you get the idea of the baggy-eyed, pasty-skinned, behind-the-scenes perfectionism that fuels F.O.W.'s bouncy pop fun.
By Wondering Sound Staff on 10.11.12 in Collections
Some indie labels are started by naÃ¯ve upstarts with wide eyes and big dreams, anxious to either make their mark or flame out trying. The North Carolina label Yep Roc, which celebrates its 15th birthday this year, was d...
By Wondering Sound Staff on 05.07.12 in Lists
From doting to derelict, supportive to destructive, pop music contains mothers of every stripe. This year for Mother's Day, we decided to showcase 20 of pop music's more prominent moms. Any of them look familiar?
By Arye Dworken on 12.08.11 in Lists
Of all the sacrifices a Jew has to make in this very Christian country, one of them is being subjected to the month long immersion in Christmas songs. If osmosis took place through music, I'd be Santa Claus. As Kyle...
By Karen Schoemer on 08.01.11 in Reviews
Fountains of Wayne's characters have suffered from a variety of neuroses and tics — inappropriate attraction to a friend's mom, a mistaken belief in the sex appeal of Subarus — but the misguided white-collar...