Yesterday’s featured artist was a first-timer on the blog, but today’s is a grizzled veteran. This is the 24th Fountains of Wayne track given Song of the Day treatment, and the 10th to show up on Random Weekends.
‘The Senator’s Daughter’ is the closing track on 1999’s Utopia Parkway, an album I rank alongside Welcome Interstate Managers as the band’s best work. And as much as I love Interstate, with a gun to my head I’d probably go with this one.
Fountains of Wayne’s fifth and final album, 2011’s Sky Full of Holes, is the one I know least. It’s nice, then, to see it pop up on a Random Weekend and treat me to a “new” song.
‘Hate to See You Like This’ is a sweet plea to a loved one who is suffering from depression. I like that the music is more power pop upbeat than you would expect from the lyrics.
Oddly, my #6 album of 2003 might be even higher on this list if it were a few songs shorter. Fountains of Wayne’s Welcome Interstate Managers starts off with a bang but ends up fizzling out.
But, oh, what a beginning! The first six tracks (‘Mexican Wine,’ ‘Bright Future in Sales,’ ‘Stacy’s Mom,’ ‘Hackensack,’ ‘No Better Place’ and ‘Valley Winter Song’) make up one of the greatest runs I’ve ever heard. Smart, hooky power pop peppered with a couple of melancholy ballads, that stretch is a display of pure songwriting genius by Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger.
Of all the recent deaths of musical artists, through coronavirus or otherwise, the one that hit me hardest was the loss of Adam Schlesinger. The former Fountains of Wayne bassist/songwriter died at just 52 years old due to complications from COVID-19.
I’ve been a big Fountains of Wayne fan since I first heard their album Utopia Parkway back in 1999. 2003’s Welcome Interstate Managers is one of the best pop albums ever recorded. Schlesinger, along with co-writer/lead singer Chris Collingwood, crafted note-perfect, clever, alternately funny and poignant tunes about everyday life. If you aren’t familiar with FOW, now’s a perfect time to get started.
When my Decades series gets around to 2003 (probably in a year or so), there’s no question one of my top albums from that year will be Fountains of Wayne’s Welcome Interstate Managers.
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.