Fountains of Wayne
is Brian Young
and Jody Porter.
"Traffic and Weather" sounds like another winner.
Published: Apr 20th, 2007
Author: Nick Cristiano
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
When "Stacy's Mom" became Fountains of Wayne's breakthrough hit in 2003 - aided by that winkingly lascivious video with Rachel Hunter - bandleaders Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood were of somewhat different minds about the success of the funny, insidiously catchy tale of a teen who falls for a friend's mother.
"Chris definitely thought it was a novelty song, and there's some baggage attached with a novelty song," Schlesinger says over the phone from his Manhattan home. "And he's right. . . . [But] I have a record-company friend who says that all hits are basically novelty songs. So, I kind of agree with that. I don't think 'Stacy's Mom' is 'Bridge Over Troubled Water,' but I'm proud of the fact we had a hit."
Novelty or not, longtime fans are not likely to define Fountains of Wayne by just "Stacy's Mom." The song came from the quartet's widely acclaimed third album, Welcome Interstate Managers, one of the great pop records of all time - really. And now, after the odds-and-ends collection Out-of-State Plates, songwriters Schlesinger and Collingwood have produced another winner in Traffic and Weather.
For Schlesinger, there was no urgency to match the commercial level of Welcome Interstate Managers. "We viewed the success of that record as something of a fluke," he says. "The only pressure we ever feel is to do something we really like."
To that end, he and former Williams College mate Collingwood have again delivered a handful of songs that aim to be nothing but light and humorous, like the one about tricking out a "'92 Subaru" or the title cut, about a local TV news anchor who comes on to his coanchor on the air ("We belong together, like traffic and weather").
Most of the time, though, the duo offer some substance with the wit. They elevate the banal with tales of average schmoes in everyday situations, songs that are perfectly realized, almost literary, vignettes, like "Someone to Love" and "I-95." Along the way, they drop tons of pop-culture references but never sound arch or smug.
All of it comes wrapped in irresistibly tuneful, Beatlesque pop that sounds even fuller, richer and more varied this time around. It's no surprise Schlesinger names the Fab Four as a primary touchstone, while the songwriting reflects some of the other influences he mentions - Randy Newman, Ray Davies, Nick Lowe.
"Chris and I have listened to so much music, and the same goes for Jody [Porter] and Brian [Young]," Schlesinger says. "Part of the fun of this band is you have four guys who are really well-versed in a lot of pop music and can gravitate toward all different kinds of styles, and that's what we like to do just to keep ourselves entertained."