Skip to main content

Fountains Of Wayne - "Troubled Times"

I consider this the final installment of a sporadic episodic sequence, starting back in December with my thoughts on John Mayer's Home Life and continuing in March with the Robbers On High Street's The Price & Style. I never planned to use these song essays in an autobiographical manner, but essays and songs can be tricky like that.

When writing about Home Life, I wrote about how the song spoke to me exactly. The Price & Style found me interpreting non-specific lyrics to fit life experience. This time I want to ponder how a song's lyrics can suddenly become relevant. Take Fountains Of Wayne's Troubled Times, from their second album, Utopia Parkway. It's a lush, harmony-driven ballad that has always stood out on that album as a shoulda-been hit.

The song has a story, but unlike FOW's other work, it's not so easy to figure out. It can be impressionistic at times. The narrator regrets that things have gone sour with a certain someone in his life, someone that was or could have become very special to him. We don't know what kept them apart. Maybe he treated her wrong, maybe she didn't give him enough of a chance. But suddenly our hero has hope again, and the chorus repeatedly claims: "Maybe one day soon / it'll all come out / how we dream about each other sometimes."

I always liked the song, but not until recently did I identify with it. Let's just say the idea of two people looking for romantic redemption is very relatable to me right now. Now lines drop in and speak to me. Things like, "all you imagined / fit so well into your plans" and "start with a weak foundation / it will lead to ruin."

Where the first two installments of this trilogy ended on notes of regret, this one is fittingly more upbeat.

Album: Utopia Parkway (1999)
Fave Moment: The background vocals at the end of the bridge.


Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Popular posts from this blog

12 by Weezer

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... I decided to take an unconventional route for this 12 by, and pretend Weezer have already released a "greatest hits." Here's what I think that would look like:  1) "Buddy Holly", 2) "Undone - the Sweater Song", 3) "My Name Is Jonas", 4) "The Good Life", 5) "El Scorcho", 6) "Hash Pipe", 7) "Island in the Sun", 8) "Dope Nose", 9) "Keep Fishin'", 10) "Beverly Hills", 11) "We Are All On Drugs", 12) "Pork and Beans".  Here's a different take: 1. " Say It Ain't So"  (from Weezer , 1994)  A little bit heavy, a little bit catchy, quiet-loud dynamics. So basically, it's Pixies lite. The song is interesting lyrically because it's basically nonsense until the "Dear daddy..." bridge, which lets out a t

2022: The Album

Since 2003 I've made a mix of some of my favorite songs of the calendar year. Here's the cover art and track listing for the 2022 edition. 1. BODEGA - "Pillar on the Bridge of You" 2. Harry Styles - "Late Night Talking" 3. Vicious Vicious - "Evolution" 4. Hot Freaks - "Lovely" 5. Carly Rae Jepsen - "The Loneliest Time" 6. Tears for Fears - "End of Night" 7. Spoon - "Wild" 8. Death Cab for Cutie - "Here to Forever" 9. Citrine and GUKKO - "Feel Better" 10. Rhett Miller - "Fascination" 11. Broken Bells - "Fade Away" 12. Leah Marlene - "Flowers" 13. Robbie Williams - "The World and Her Mother" 14. Jimmy Eat World - "Something Loud" (acoustic version) 15. Sloan - "Dream It All Over Again" If you have Amazon Unlimited, you can listen at this link . 

12 by Matthew Sweet (2002 - 2021)

Sometimes a huge part of an artist's career has not been summarized. Case in point... Matthew Sweet has a couple of compliations out there, but neither of them cover the past couple of decades, a span that has seen him release 8 albums of original material and 3 albums of covers.  I followed Sweet's career religiously early on, with my ardor gradually diminishing after the magnificant one-two punch of In Reverse (1999) and The Thorns (2003) That's not to say he hasn't produced some great work since then, it's just that it requires bit of effort to pick out the gems. Here's my college try: (Two of these albums are not available on streaming servies, so here's a slightly modified version of the playlist on YouTube .) 1. "I Can't Remember" ( The Thorns , 2003) The Thorns was a rootsy, close-harmony early-aughts version of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, featuring Shawn Mullins (of "Lullaby" fame) and Pete Droge (of "If You Don't Lov