This is a great album to give anyone looking for an introduction to the band. From great power pop (‘Stacy’s Mom,’ ‘Bright Future in Sales,’ today’s SOTD) to beautiful acoustic tracks (‘Hackensack,’ ‘Valley Winter Song’) to charming love songs (‘Hey Julie’), this album serves up a little bit of everything.
My final one-hit wonder is a painful choice. I adore so much of Fountains of Wayne’s music that I hate to think of them being relegated to the dustbin of history, remembered for their only hit song, ‘Stacy’s Mom.’
And here’s the real kick in the pants: ‘Stacy’s Mom’ wasn’t even that big of a hit. It peaked at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached #3 on the Pop chart. Nothing else the band released ever came close to chart success.
Fountains of Wayne followed up the success of its 2003 album Welcome Interstae Managers, and surprise hit single ‘Stacy’s Mom,’ with a double album called Out-of-State Plates, filled with odds and ends they’d amassed over their career to that point.
Albums like this are usually quick cash grabs or contract fillers, and this one is no exception. It is entirely unremarkable, featuring songs that were B-sides for good reasons.
Quick visits to the band’s website, social media accounts and Wikipedia page reveal very little information about their current activities. They don’t appear to have split up but neither are they touring or recording. I hope they haven’t split up, because these guys are among the bets pop songwriters going.
I don’t keep stats on which artists show up the most on Random Weekends (though now I’m tempted) but I have to believe Fountains of Wayne are up there, especially as a percentage of their total songs in my library.
They write about people who might live in your neighborhood, pass by you on the highway, sit in the cubicle next to yours at work.
But today’s random SOTD, ‘Cold Comfort Flowers’ from the band’s last album, Sky Full of Holes, is a different ballgame.
They’ve certainly written better ones than others, and they have a tendency to put too many songs on their albums, but pound for pound and note for note I’d put Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger’s songwriting chops up there against anybody’s.