UTOPIA PARKWAY - Fountains of Wayne
TRACK LISTING: Utopia Parkway, Red Dragon Tattoo, Denise, Hat and Feet, The Valley of Malls, Troubled Times, Go Hippie, A Fine Day For A Parade, Amity Gardens, Laser Show, Lost In Space, Prom Theme, It Must Be Summer, The Senator's Daughter
IMPRESSIONS: Simply one of my favourite albums of the 90s. The songwriting by Collingwood and Schlesinger features monster pop hooks and intelligent writing (even when they're writing deliberately dopey lyrics as in "Denise") which combines humour with a wistful melancholy. This quality can be seen to no better advantage than the superb "Prom Theme" which is funny and paradoxically often makes me cry; it combines adolescent silliness and obliviousness with a lethal nostalgic pain and remains both incredibly pessimistic and wide-eyed optimistic at the same time! The strings combined with a 70's wah-wah guitar are hilariously (and knowingly) cornball to evoke most prom themes but written and orchestrated so well that they're achingly beautiful simultaneously. The album was nominated for several Penguin Awards including Song of the Year for "Prom Theme" and won Album of the Year.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Utopia Parkway, Red Dragon Tattoo, Denise, Hat and Feet, The Valley of Malls, Troubled Times, Go Hippie, A Fine Day For A Parade, Prom Theme, It Must Be Summer, The Senator's Daughter
FACT SHEET: UTOPIA PARKWAY is Fountains of Wayne's second album. The group consists of Chris Collingwood (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Adam Schlesinger (bass, backing vocals), Jody Porter (lead guitar) and Brian Young (drums). Initially called Pinnwheel, Are You My Mother? and Woolly Mammoth, the band took it's name from a lawn ornament store near Wayne, New Jersey near Montclair (Schlesinger's home town); the now-gone store can be seen in the Sopranos episode "Another Toothpick". The album is named after a street in Queens, New York and is a concept album of life in modern suburbia. UTOPIA PARKWAY was critically acclaimed and named People magazine's "Album of the Week" but the band was dropped from their label when sales didn't meet expectations; a dispute between the label and the band occurred when Atlantic refused to release "Troubled Times" as a single. The band went on a couple year hiatus before making another album containing the huge hit "Stacy's Mom".