Everything’s Ruined : RIP Adam Schlesinger

Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood wrote songs that stayed in your brain and your heart long after the music stopped. I wasn’t quite 23 when the first Fountains of Wayne album had come out, but I was well on my way to adulthood. I’d gotten married just a couple months prior to the record dropping, and my wife and I were in the process of moving into our first home(the same home I’m writing this in.) So the fact that I connected so hard to a scruffy little power pop record seemed strange to me. Shouldn’t I have started getting into soft jazz, or re-living my misspent hair metal youth in the face of maturity?

That’s the interesting thing about Fountain of Wayne’s songs. They’re young at first listen; youthful in an almost reckless way. Characters acting on impulse and declaring their love for that special someone that will certainly break their hearts. Small New Jersey bars were the scenes of drunken chivalry(or stupidity.) But under the surface of those catchy hooks and melodies for days were characters trying to capture a youth that got away from them. These weren’t happy party dudes looking for the next big thrill. These were characters looking for something they lost.

While I wasn’t looking for something I’d lost, I was feeling very nostalgic and melancholy as I was becoming an adult very quickly. Signing mortgage papers, picking out light fixtures, arguing about half or full-paved driveways. Listening to that first Fountains of Wayne record there was a feeling of wistfulness and longing that I could relate to. A sort of goodbye to misspent youth and just worrying about yourself. All those songs were fun, concise, and to the point; but also very personal and localized to the youth Adam Schlesinger experienced growing up in New Jersey.

In a lot of ways I connected to Fountains of Wayne in the same way I connected to Ray Davies and The Kinks. Davies wrote about the home he knew growing up as a kid. The Village Green Preservation Society is still one of my absolute favorite albums. Not because I could relate to Davies’ British upbringing, but because I could relate to growing up somewhere I could truly call home. The details about characters and places and lost loves pulled me into that album and world and truly re-wired me as a listener. I got that with the Schlesinger/Collingwood songs.

Fountains of Wayne, Utopia Parkway, and Welcome Interstate Managers were soundtracks to suburbia and figuring life out one mistake at a time. Fountains of Wayne were a constant soundtrack in my brain for nearly ten years. From the beginning of truly being an adult, to being the father of three kids. Adam Schlesinger was a master pop songwriter. Had he been born 25 years before he surely would’ve been a Brill Building cat, writing number one hits with Lieber, Stoller, King, and Bachrach.

As it turns out, he was born in 1967 and grew up on the Beatles and alternative rock of the 80s. He died in 2020 due to complications with COVID-19.

RIP.

Slow down
There’s gonna be trouble
You’re gonna forget
What you’re doing
One false move, baby
Suddenly everything’s ruined
Hold on
You’re gonna be sorry
You’re gonna regret
What you’re doing
One false move, baby
Suddenly everything’s ruined
And you ought to know
You ought to know
There’s only one way this can go
You ought to know
You ought to know
All of the ups and downs, the highs and lows
Slow down
There’s gonna be trouble
You’re gonna forget
What you’re doing
One false move, baby
Suddenly everything’s ruined
One false move, baby
Suddenly everything’s ruined

 

One thought on “Everything’s Ruined : RIP Adam Schlesinger

What do you think? Let me know

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.