Fountains of Wayne
Fountains of Wayne’s Out-of-State Plates is the perfect soundtrack for an end-of-summer drive with the windows down and the stereo cranked up. FOW’s spunky, upbeat, guitar-rock is incapable of delivering anything but a carefree mood. Out-of-State Plates is a real treat for FOW fans. The two-disc set is a compilation of hidden and bonus tracks from previous releases plus unreleased songs and even a few new tunes.
I must confess that I initially preferred disc one of Out-of-State Plates to disc two. Disc one is more plucky and less ironic. The kick-off is “Maureen,” a fast-paced song about a guy in love with his uncomprehending friend. The track somehow manages to not be depressing, and the situation is a relatable one.
“California Sex Lawyer” is the ultimate give-up-your-life-and-move-to-the-West-Coast anthem. It includes winning lines like “I’m gonna go the distance, then I’m going to bed.” Plus, the pumping “ughs” provide something for even the lyrically-challenged, like me, to sing along with.
“Karpet King” is a clever character snapshot that plays off the idea of a carpet salesman. FOW exploits the metaphor, crooning “Lay it down,” but of course they’re not really talking about carpeting.
I’m not usually one for sappy love songs, but “Baby I’ve Changed” managed to hit just the right note. A guy who has mistreated and lost his girl is pleading for a second chance. He sings, “I won’t tell you that your hair looks grey, and I’ll let you listen to Sugar Ray.” Now that’s love.
Disc two isn’t without merit either. While FOW totally misses with “Today’s Teardrops” (we could do without the bluegrass, however ironic it was meant to be), they are surprisingly dead-on with a cover of “…Baby One More Time.” They slow it down with some jamming guitar, and you suddenly find yourself liking a Britney Spears song.
“I Want an Alien for Christmas,” although out of season, is absurd enough to be a complete blast.
“The Girl I Can’t Forget,” probably the best song on the album, was named for the lyric “It was the night I can’t remember with the girl I can’t forget.” It’s a fun song about a usually conservative guy who goes on a first date with a girl, gets drunk and the next day has no memory of the previous evening’s shenanigans.
The summer may be waning, but your lighthearted mood needn’t leave with it. To maintain summer happiness, listen to Fountains of Wayne’s Out-of-State Plates – on repeat.
Emilie Haertsch can be reached at email@example.com.