Thursday, March 29, 2007

Someone to Love

Song: Someone to Love
Artist: Fountains of Wayne
Album: Traffic & Weather

“Stacey’s Mom,” the inescapable hit from Fountains of Wayne put the band on the map after two very fine albums of solid, if a touch goofy, power-pop. The album from which “Stacey” came, “Welcome Interstate Managers” got some of their best reviews to date, and they quickly followed the one-off hit with a collection of B-Sides called “Out-of-State Plates.” This pretty much solidified them as critical darlings with many claiming a lot of the material on “Plates” was better than their album counterparts. The collection also bought them some time to stay in the public eye before creating the official follow up and also deal with the pressure of following up a massive hit like “Stacey’s Mom.”

While I enjoyed their first two albums, I thought “Managers” was really inconsistent, a bit all over the place, and I literally never need to hear “Stacey’s Mom” again. While their earlier work had a more tender Cars vibe with a hint of goofiness, “Stacey’s” was full on Barenaked Ladies mode, without the sweetness. “Traffic & Weather” seems to be more of the same though it does try to get back to the blissful pop of the self titled debut and follow up, the excellent “Utopia Parkway.” “Traffic” may be just what fans want though, despite the thus far mixed reviews… I suppose I was just wanting something a little more.

“Someone to Love” is I believe the first single, and it has a pleasant semi-disco beat and sing-a-long chorus. While they like to write story-songs about pretty regular people, they unfortunately try to get jokey with the pop culture references a touch too much for my taste. But maybe I am just being a bit cranky. Sometimes you want sunny pop to sing along to in the car on a hot summer day… and for that, “Traffic & Weather” is pretty perfect. I don’t know if I hear a “Stacey’s Mom” size hit on here, but that may be beneficial for the album… we didn’t need another one.


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