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Utopia Parkway Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, April 6, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Fountains Of Wayne Utopia Parkway German CD album

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Fountains of Wayne's second album is somewhat of a new thing under the sun: Pet Sounds for '90s Jersey high schoolers. Main-men Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood litter these songs with cultural references (Pink Floyd laser shows, tattoos, Puff Daddy, lavender Lexuses, "You Dropped a Bomb on Me"), but their "Valley of Malls" is saturated with as much bittersweetness as that of Adam Sandler's wedding singer. The pop-savvy Schlesinger--who also puts in time as a member of Ivy and wrote That Thing You Do!'s title song--is wiseacre enough to dub a touching ELO tribute "Prom Theme," but when the album ends with one of the kids falling for "The Senator's Daughter," it feels as openhearted as when Brian Wilson puzzled over why he just wasn't made for these times. --Rickey Wright
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 6, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Imports
  • ASIN: B00000IFW1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,610 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Naming your sophomore album after a road in Queens, NY that goes pretty much nowhere hardly bodes well, and it's not surprising the radio stations and general record buying public stayed well clear of this album. I mean, why would anyone be interested in a collection of songs that were funny, witty, tuneful, melodic, bittersweet and catchy as SARS. The fact that they're also AM radio-tastic, full of hooks and generally under 3 minutes long too must also have been a huge turn off. 1999 was, remember, the year that Limp Bizkit released "Significant other" and Kid Rock's "Devil without a cause" was taking over the airwaves. This record was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Fast forward to 2003 - Fred Durst can't even get a date with Britney Spears and the Fountains of Wayne are making their own, belated attempt at airwave domination. So hopefully more people will see the cheerful little blue cover of "Utopia Parkway" and be encourage to take out the shiny little cd, pop it into their player and hit <play>. And they will not be disappointed.
"Utopia Parkway" is proof that FOW are brilliant and indeed have always been brilliant - it's just the rest of the world that was wrong all along. Musically it's a bit less rock-y than the debut, and a touch more rock-y than "Welcome Interstate Managers", but that's as maybe. The songwriting, musicianship and ability are just as good, and the album sounds as great on first listen as it does on 3 millionth.
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Format: Audio CD
Okay, I'd first like to say that Utopia Parkway is MUCH different than Fountains Of Wayne's self titled debut. On the other hand, there are more than a handful of similarities.
First of all, don't buy this expecting a bunch of two and a half minute power pop romps. There are a quite a few, but the lovely, wise mouth ballads share the same amount of time with them. "Prom Theme" comes close to being seriously sad (well, until you read the lyrics a few times over). "Fine Day For A Parade" reminds me of "She's Got A Problem" from their first record, except that "Parade" is a bit more meloncoly.
But that's where the differences end. "Denise," "Laser Show," and "Lost In Space" are great power pop anthems. They have the same bombast as the majority of the tunes from the first record. "Red Dragon Tattoo" has got to be one of the most catchy, sarcastic songs I have ever heard.
Whether you want to hear it or not, this is REAL pop rock. This winner is a sure-fire top ten "Best Albums" entry....the question is, why don't you have it yet?
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Format: Audio CD
I don't buy many new albums anymore. Back in the old days -- the mid-'80s -- albums would be $5.98 or $6.98 and you wouldn't feel so bad about spending it on new music, because if you got two great songs and three good songs out of an LP of 12 tunes, you figured it was okay. But with CDs costing $12, $13, sometimes $16, there's no way I'm gonna pay those bucks unless I know the record is something I'll still be listening to two or three (or, maybe, 10) years from now.
I first heard of Fountains of Wayne when their first record made a lot of critics' top tens in 1996, with accompanying enthusiastic reviews for their power pop. Hmm, I thought, I ought to check this out -- and I wasn't disappointed. Between "Radiation Vibe," "Leave the Biker," and especially "Sick Day," the album ranked highly among my recent collection. I looked forward to the second album, even as I wondered if the group was a one-shot, since both Schlesinger and Collingwood had side projects going.
Finally, there it was: Utopia Parkway. Clever title, I thought, named as it was for one of the most ill-named streets in the country, a standard chunk of New York City concrete and asphalt. But what was it going to be LIKE? The Amazon.com and other reviews seemed mixed.
Well, I'm not mixed. I like it more each time I play it. The occasionally angry and sludgy guitars of the first CD have been toned down, replaced by tuneful arrangements and more confidence. The guys KNOW they have good songs, and they do them just right. I don't know if there's a bum track on the whole thing. (Well, maybe "Go, Hippie.")
It's a fine line to walk.
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Format: Audio CD
The Beach Boys seem to come up quite a bit in reviews of Fountains of Wayne. The comparison makes sense, since both bands have the obvious ability to write perfectly-crafted pop songs.

However, where the Beach Boys songs were filled with the sun and sand of Southern california, FOW's melodies and lyrics focus on the asphalt and tiny lawns of east-coast suburbia. Summers on the Jersey shore, Coney Island tattoo parlors, bridge-and-tunnel Manhattan commuters, and suburban soccer moms with minivans... these are the stuff Foutains of Wayne's great songs are made of.

Utopia Parkway is, in my opinion, an even better CD than their self-titled debut. The songs on Utopia Parkway might not be as instantly catchy as "Survival Car", "Radiation Vibe", or "Leave the Biker" from the 1st album. But songs like "Senator's Daughter", "Valley of Malls", and the title track get better with every listen. And "Troubled Times" is just about as sweet and as beautiful a song as you'll ever hear.
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