PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Fountains of Wayne: Out of State Plates

Dave Brecheisen

Two CDs worth of Fountains of Wayne that, although you may not need to hear, you probably should. Why wouldn't you want to listen to this band's version of Max Martin's smash hit, '...Baby, One More Time?'"


Fountains of Wayne

Out of State Plates

Label: Virgin
US Release Date: 2005-06-28
UK Release Date: 2005-06-27
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

Do we really need two CDs worth of Fountains of Wayne B-sides and rarities? No, probably not. That hasn't stopped the band from releasing one, nor should it stop you from enjoying it. Some of it is pretty good.

Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger have finally responded to the demands of their 16-year-old fans across the nation by compiling 28 obscure tacks for proper release. Don't get me wrong, other fans have wanted to see these songs released, they just aren't blogging about it. Also included here are two new tracks, "The Girl I Can't Forget", about a love affair that begins in a drunken haze, and "Maureen", their best single since "Radiation Vibe".

After a brief, slightly self-aggrandizing opening from NPR about the genius of power pop and Fountains of Wayne, "Maureen" comes rocketing out of the speakers with all of the pop gusto you've come to expect from this band. About an unrequited love affair with, you guessed it, a girl named Maureen, it is quintessential Fountains of Wayne -- self-deprecating, humorous, sincere and catchy as hell. If this isn't a summer hit, it's only because they couldn't get Rachel Hunter for the video.

"Maureen" sets the bar pretty high. However, to ensure you don't expect too much from the album, Fountains of Wayne follow it up with the trite, "California Sex Lawyer". What? Yeah, they named a song "California Sex Lawyer". It's absurd, and not in the clever, witty way. Most of the songs on Out of State Plates don't reach the depths of this song. And while they never quite reach pinnacle of the opener, both discs have plenty of gems.

In addition to "Maureen", disc one includes the mostly acoustic "I'll Do the Driving", a song that Collingwood writes in the liner notes, "pissed off my wife so much that I wish I'd never done it." The lamenting "You're Just Never Satisfied", is archetypal Fountains of Wayne, while "I Want You Around", is reminiscent of the recently disbanded Luna. Even a song like "Nightlight" which, when taken at face value seems banal, has an underpinning of sincerity and beauty, making it a terrific tune.

The second disc doesn't quite pack the same punch as the first, as it dips into the ridiculous a little too early and little too frequently. However, it isn't without its moments. "Elevator Up", a song I presume to be about doing a couple of drugs (it may also be about Steven Tyler) is a gritty good time. The lyrics find the narrator strung out, reflecting on his weekend of debauchery and orgies and just wanting to get some sleep. By contrast "Kid Gloves", is about the delicacy of love, while "She's got a Problem" finds the songsters again tackling unrequited love (and biting Rick Springfield).

The ability of Fountains of Wayne to balance playfulness and sincerity is one of their most appealing aspects. Somehow they manage to seamlessly blend personal themes with fictional, often silly characters and circumstances. Collingwood and Schlesinger have a knack for spinning heartfelt and catchy tunes out of the seemingly mundane. Their talent for acute observation allows them the ability to create depth (sometimes humorous, sometimes emotional) behind the eyes of characters as random as carpet salesmen and Santa impersonators.

This approach to their songwriting is as evident in the covers they have selected as it is in their own work. In addition to covering Jeff Lynne and Aztec Camera, they've included songs as diverse as "...Baby, One More Time", originally performed by Mrs. Federline, and the sublime "These Days" by Jackson Browne.

Still you say, "two discs worth of material?" I guess they could have whittled the track listing down to just one disc, but there's no fun in that. If they had done that you may not get to hear "I Want an Alien for Christmas". Besides, this isn't for those of you who would ask such a question anyway. Out of State Plates was the band doing some spring cleaning for the sake of the diehard fans and music listeners who can't resist the urge to purchase every version of "...Baby, One More Time" ever recorded.

5

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.