Hackensack // Fountains of Wayne
I remember the exact moment I fell in love with the band.
For years, friends of mine were trying to convince me I’d love them, but whatever they’d played for me wasn’t connecting for whatever reason. “Meh,” said I. And then Welcome Interstate Managers—which I now know to be the best album of the 00’s and in my top five all time—came out in 2003. “Stacy’s Mom” was big because of the video with Rachel Hunter, and even that wasn’t connecting. I dunno. (I came around on that one, though.)
One cold day that spring, I was in my car when I heard “Hackensack,” and I was absolutely floored by the heartbroken cluelessness of the narrator. The rendering of this poor bastard was note perfect. Funny, but not mocking; sad, but not maudlin. Collingwood’s unassuming voice and the dim C-minor melody supported the story perfectly.
But it was one lyric that caused me to pull off the road, exultant, as I pounded the steering wheel, knowing that my musical history would be divided forevermore into “before” and “after” from that moment:
I saw you talkin’ to Christopher Walken
On my TV screen