Welcome Interstate Managers-Fountains of Wayne

Welcome Interstate Managers

Fountains of Wayne

S-Curve Records & Virgin Records

2003

So, a while back I was really into this album and Fountains of Wayne.  Upon the recent move into my new apartment (excuse for hiatus?) I got stuck on this album again. My inspiration? I watched MTV’s Unplugged and heard Katy Perry’s cover of “Hackensack.” Thus it brought me back to this disc, and here we are.

I’m sure everyone remembers the summer of ’03 when the radio, MTV, VH1 and what have you played the living hell out of “Stacy’s Mom.” Fountain’s of Wayne were in the lime light for a bit until the media moved on to the next thing. However, I stayed tuned.  Kids, you will always discover great things when you just hang on a bit longer.  Unlike most bands who write a hit but pair it with a less-than satisfying album, Fountains of Wayne does the opposite with Welcome Interstate Managers. This band brings so much to the table with this album. It’s a disc with feel-good songs accompanied by songs strung with a bit of sorrow. This disc has a place in my heart.

The album begins with “Mexican Wine.”  The song was released as the second single for the album.  The song features a more clean distortion set to a slow, rhythmic pace.  The song delivers lyrics about the irony in life and death.  Chris Collingwood’s soothing and uplifting voice heals the heaviness of the situation for the listener.  The catchyness of the song and the message of carrying on make it a solid tune.

“Bright Future In Sales,” tells the story of a man who seems to be reaping the benefits of a promotion at a white-collar job he doesn’t seem to be ready for and or doesn’t even seem to want.  Besides the beat of the drums perfectly paired with a distorted walk-down riff, the lyrics tell the tale of an everyday man.  Keeping in mind that Fountains of Wayne hail from New Jersey, this song is one that can be associated with everyday life of those living in New Jersey and commuting to New York for day in and day out at a job they may not even care for that much.

“Stacy’s Mom,” the song that hit the charts and had everyone singing along in 2003.  Perhaps the reason this song got such a significant amount of airplay was that it was fun, catchy and just down right witty.

“Hackensack,” begins at a slow tempo with clean/little to no distortion.  The name refers to Hackensack, NJ. The song is a heart-felt one about loving someone who is in another part of the country.  The mood is a clear shift from the upbeat “Stacy’s Mom.”  Collingwood’s lyrics again revert back to the everyday individual.  Not everyone is a successful resident of L.A., many of us have not had the opportunity to move on to bigger and better things.

“No Better Place,” follows “Hackensack,” with seemingly the same mood.  However, this song, played with a clean distortion and moderate tempo, is slightly more upbeat in the way it is transfered into song.  The lyrical content features a depressive story about a man seeking alcohol to drown his sorrows. The power behind Fountain’s of Wayne is their ability to transform a common meek feeling, a situation that many people encounter, mix in a great beat and witty lyrics and turn it into a catchy song.  As you sing along to it, you seem to be singing along to how you may feel or may have felt about your own life.  The songs are personalized in that way.

“Valley Winter Song,” turns the album around a bit featuring a rhythmic song with a faster tempo.  Although this song has been used for commercials, it is a lovely, whimsical song.

“All Kinds of Time,” has a slower tempo.  The content is not exactly the greatest, however the song flows very well.

“Little Red Light,” is the eighth song on the album.  Collingwood’s vocals are more raw on this song, versus the soothing tone he uses on previous songs.  His agitation with his job is evident in the presentation of the lyrics and music.  The song touches on the aftermath of a break-up, when the stress of everyday life becomes more difficult to manage.

“Hey Julie,” follows “Little Red Light.”  The song was meant to be the third single from the album, but never reached the success as “Stacy’s Mom.”  The song is a more upbeat song about working a job you hate but coming home to someone you love.  To me, this song should have preceded “Little Red Light” on the album’s line up.  Regardless, the song had more than enough potential to be a hit and it is unfortunate the media did not pick up on it.

“Halley’s Waitress,” is the tenth song on the album.  The song brings about the band’s ironic sense of humor, featuring a story about a waitress who is seldom around to help her customers; hence the name in the title “Halley” referring to Halley’s comet which is a rare occurence.  The song features a piano and a slow, almost jazz sound.

“Hung Up On You,” yet another break-up song confronting painful memories of a love that once was. Yet, this one takes the tune of a country song.  Perhaps the band, once again, showing their sense of humor in bad situations.

“Fire Island,” features a slow tempo and leisurely delivered vocals.  The lyrics are a suggestive outrageous-teenage party song and yet it is sung in a very laid back fashion.  Not the deepest song on the record, but well thought out and put together. The irony is genius.

“Peace and Love,” a bit of a connection to the 60’s hippie movement.  Collingwood maintains the things may be bad but you have to enjoy the good feel of the album with the lyrics, “We’ll never live forever But baby things could be worse.”

“Bought For a Song,” features minimal distortion and raw vocals to a moderately paced tempo.  The song seems to be about the not-so glamorous part of international touring along with the feeling that is the product of listeners buying an album for just one song.

“Supercollider,” although this song has a steady tempo and intriguing lyrics, it still is not one that holds my attention for very long.  The vocals seem to be bellowing, stringing along for too long.  The music works with the lyrics, with bends and echoing effects over consistent strumming.  However, the song just doesn’t do it for me.

“Yours and Mine,” is the final track of the album. At just over a minute long, the song features a simple, soft strumming of a guitar and drum beat.  This song seems to be about when a couple reaches a level of comfort in their relationship where they share everything and fall into a routine.  The song is short because there is nothing left for them to explore, their lives seem redundant due to daily routine activities.  The narrator seems unsure of where the relationship is going, hence the reason why the song ends so abruptly.

Overall this album is full of brilliance.  Fountains of Wayne has not released an album since 2007, however they still hold a place in my heart.  Although I was into the band when this album was released, I feel I was too young to grasp the gravity of the album.  The content of this album is presented with such intelligence. The potential for the listener to make a personal connection through these songs is far greater than most bands of their time.  Nearly six years later, I still urge you all to check this disc out.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: