Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rock Album of the Year?

It's only July, and it's not even a contest.

And "A Dip in the Ocean" isn't even CLOSE to being the best thing on the record.

Although, as my old bandmate Andy Pasternack said upon hearing it, "this song is so good it hurts."

Words fail me, otherwise.


Jon said...


Sal Nunziato said...

Wow. I wanted to e-mail you about this when I read that you were reviewing it. I LOVE this band and I am SO disappointed with this record.

There are a few gems, "A Road Song" is one, and your choice. But it feels like they are parodying themselves.

Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary said...


Words failed me, too.

'Kicks righteous ass' comes close, though.

steve simels said...

Sal -- I'm genuinely surprised to hear you say that; I think it's pretty much their strongest album ever.

C'mon -- "Richie and Ruben?" That's fricking genius...

Sal Nunziato said...

"Michael & Heather" from the last album? I feel like it's been done.

4 of the first 5 songs all have "Whoa-uh-uh-ohs" as a chorus.

Sorry. Not giving up. I LOVE these guys. Even pre-ordered the vinyl. But it sounds tired to me.

steve simels said...

Well, chacun a son goo, as the French say.

steve simels said...

4 of the first 5 songs all have "Whoa-uh-uh-ohs" as a chorus.

Well, you're saying that like its a bad thing.

pete said...

Judging by this track alone the songwriting has grown in ways most acts' don't. I don't hear self-parody. I hear more sophisticated meter and the search for new, more adult subject matter. Sure, the guy's voice is the same, the guitar tones are the same, and the backup singers use similar harmonies. But that's just keeping what you like. We're talking growth here, not a radical shift of identity.

Shriner said...

I've heard this album, too. I am indifferent about it.

I was left wondering if Adam and Chris are now settling into "middle age" and their songwriting is a result of that. Too many acoustic songs from what I feel was initially a (lower case) powerpop band, but now sounds like a MOR pop band.

I'm not *disappointed* by the release -- there are some really great songs on it (of which this is one). I think it's better than Traffic & Weather (which I really never cared for). And it's not one that makes me want to see them live again.

But it's not near the caliber of the first three albums (or their rarities comp for that matter...)

(Maybe I'm spoiled by the collection of "Hey Joel" song rips from the DVD I just discovered from the FOW message board. *Or* my expectations from this band are so high that they'll never hit them again -- I mean Welcome Interstate Managers is such a friggin high bar, IMO, that they could probably never hit that again.

Anonymous said...

Clearly you haven't heard Dave Alvin's new album.


steve simels said...

So I'm told...

Phillydog said...

Agreed, Steve! It's a good one from FOW. I'd be happy to have written a bridge or two as good as any of theirs. Cool cover art too.

You know darn well this will get completely ignored by the Grammy people. Not like we care what they think anyway.

steve simels said...

A bridge that good? I'd be happy to have written a couple of opening lines as brilliant as some of these...

Sal Nunziato said...

Okay okay! It's not like I didn't buy a ticket to see them at City Winery, or pre-order the vinyl, or own tons of live bootlegs. Jeezaloo!



Dave Lifton said...

I'm with Steve on this. "Richie & Ruben" is nothing like "Michael & Heather" lyrically. If you're looking for self-repetition, "A Road Song" is "I-95" crossed with "Prom Theme." But it doesn't matter because it's so damn beautiful.

DB said...

In a blog full of musical experts, I'm a relative tin-ear. I know what I like and that's about it.

I don't like "A Dip in the Ocean". I love it.

It sounds like FOW, but evolved, somehow. Can I explain it? No, I can't.

But I know that I'm buying this CD and it will live on my iPod for a long time.

You experts go back to discussing technical aspects of the music and songwriting. I'll be busy singing the lyrics at full volume while driving.

Sal Nunziato said...

A few last words:

I don't want to, though sometimes I can't help it, come across as a jaded sourpuss. The new FOW album is still miles ahead of most of what's out there. I like it. I guess it was Mr. Simels very strong "no contest" remark that set the spark.

We like FOW because of their pop culture references, often hilarious storytelling, and ability to write such memorable melodies and hooks.

I guess what I hear on "Sky Full Of Holes" is a collection of songs that mirror so many of their older tunes. Some hear them as better. I don't.

They have plenty of aces in the hole, and it seems like they used them all on this new record.

Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary said...

Back in the day, Fountains of Wayne was one of my customers - the real Fountains of Wayne - the lawn & garden store on Route 46 in Wayne, NJ.

I'll bet ol' Don Winters (the owner) never had any idea he'd be more famous for the musical group than he was for his fountains.

Yong said...

It's the best!!

in the meantime,

check it out yo! :)

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Steve! I just spent 20 of my last 72 hours driving a rented car listening to The Hounds and that doo-wop band that covered the Beatles et al. -- amazing music, an amazing gift, but that's not my point! My point is, I'm a very old man, older than YOU i bet, so have mercy when I tell you I haven't figured out: do you have a full review of the new FOW that I can buy or steal? If it's in a mag I'll subscribe to the thing and tell them why. But I'm so confused and so old: where's your review of the new Fountains of Wayne album? Can you point me in the direction I should go?

Joe said...

I am also not an expert on music, as has been said I do know what I like. I also have put great stock in any album Steve likes this much over the years, going back to the 70's and Stereo Review. Got in on the 2nd and do really like it. It is growing on me, there style is subtle, the lyrics are another leap for them as far as I can tell. Two thumbs up!