Thursday, April 2

Adam Schlesinger Was One of Our Greatest Songwriters

I've always felt Fountains of Wayne has been a criminally underrated band for most of their career. Like a lot of people, I discovered the band through "Stacy's Mom," the 2003 pop hit that was a tribute to The Cars (there's even a mini Ric Ocasek in the opening scene of the music video). But while most people wrote them off as a one-hit wonder, I dove deeper into their catalog. And man, there's such terrific stuff in there.

That's largely due to Adam Schlesinger, co-founder of Fountains of Wayne, along with Chris Collingwood. The duo is credited with writing every song on their album, an intentional move to let the band shine more brightly than the individuals within it. I think what's most impressive about Fountains of Wayne songs is how perfectly they capture the minutiae of suburban living. Heck, their Utopia Parkway record is a concept album about suburbia. That's just not really a thing most bands do, yet it speaks to so many people throughout the country. We've all had rocky relationships, been stuck in traffic, or woken up one morning realizing we drank too much the night before. And Adam and Chris brought these scenarios to life through Fountains of Wayne songs.

But it wasn't only Fountains of Wayne. Adam had a hand in so many songs – both for real and fictitious bands and shows. You've likely heard an earworm song and been like, "YES. I dig this" and chances are Adam touched it. 

Jams like "Just the Girl" by The Click Five and "High School Never Ends" by Bowling for Soup are still toe-tappers nearly 20 years later. He wrote the title track to perhaps my favorite movie ever (That Thing You Do!), penned tunes for the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack, and earned multiple Emmy Awards wins and nominations for his work on the Tonys and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Adam died from complications from COVID-19 at just 52 years old. He gave us so much good music and I hope you'll take some time to listen.

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