Fountains of Wayne
is Brian Young
and Jody Porter.
Fountains of Wayne: 'Traffic and Weather'
Published: Apr 4th, 2007
Author: Beth Ochoa
Source: Student Life
Tracks to download: anything by another band
For fans of: Bowling for Soup, Jimmy Eat World
Let's get something out here straight away. I listen to crap. I'll admit it. We can't all listen to musically perfect CDs all day long. The fact that Wayne Coyne doesn't have the best voice, or that RHCP lyrics don't make any sense to me, or that Meg White has no drumming ability at all... I like it. It's interesting. Somewhere, however, the line has to be drawn between bad music that is fantastic because of its idiosyncrasies and bad music that is flat out, absolute crap. Unfortunately for Fountains of Wayne (FOW) the line was drawn so far from them that they can't even fathom good music.
When asked how many copies of "Traffic and Weather" they hope to sell, Adam Schlesinger, FOW's songwriter responded, "Our goal is 12 units, then if we hit 13, it looks like a runaway success."
Well, sorry to break it to you, but you'll be lucky to get ten.
"Stacy's Mom," the freak hit which propelled them into the musical limelight, has no such follow-up on this album. In fact, the album is littered with lackluster attempts at a similar hit. The main problem with FOW's tracks is that each song is a specific story of another uninteresting life. Somehow FOW have managed to take all art out of music with their wretched rendition of power pop-rock.
The first single, "Someone to Love," is a slew of power chords and an average synth line which becomes boring less than half way through. The highlight of the song is backing vocals provided by Melissa Auf der Maur (of Smashing Pumpkins and Hole fame). In fact, the retentiveness is what plagues most of the album. That and the fact that listening to the album makes me feel like I'm being forced to sit through a bad opener for a washed-up 80s band.
"Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim" sounds like it belongs on the Charlie's Angles II soundtrack. Using what sounds like Stevie Wonder's drum machine from 1987 and bad filler (bah bah bap, anyone?) this song is another train wreck. Maybe that's what Fountains of Wayne was going for though. This album, the fourth LP by FOW, is yet another transportation themed album. So maybe it's no coincidence at all.
It turns out 48 minutes of FOW is way too much for me and, invariably, you too. Don't even bother trying this album on for size. "Stacy's Mom" was entertaining. While it wasn't anything musically significant, it was fun to sing along to. Sadly, "Traffic and Weather" doesn't even offer a glimpse of the cheeky humor FOW's listeners have come to expect. In a world with endless access to new music, if you can't deliver don't even bother.