Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Fountains of Why?

I managed what the kids called a "record store" throughout the 90's. My CD buying habit was colossal, and my thirst for information just as extreme. When operating at peak efficiency, I was buying a ton of CD's every month and reading just about every magazine I could (this is before the internet phased out everything good). Allegedly, this was all a job-related pursuit, but I did get a warm charge from my command of such a knowledgebase.

But I left that job in May 1999. And by Halloween of that year, my knowledge of CD's, their release dates, or what was hip had withered. I could no sooner quote a month's worth of release dates than I could a chronological list of American Vice-Presidents.

So when I stumbled across the news that one of my favorite bands (Fountains of Wayne) was putting out a new album on that very day, I was happy but not surprised that I didn't know it was coming. I returned home a little excited, fired up the iTunes Store online, and went right to my planned purchase. I don't know what spurred me to give a listen to the samples of each song, but I'm sorta glad I did. I wound up not buying Traffic and Weather.

Again, I'm a huge FOW enthusiast--I own all their previous releases and even bought Robbie Fulks' brilliant Fountains of Wayne Hotline single (mostly because Fulks has the good sense to produce a faithful homage at the same time he's skewering the band's airtight pop construction). But for some reason those newly released samples, while unmistakably the same band that's thrilled me in the past, didn't give me a reason to make room in my brain and my hard drive and my iPod for the full length tunes. It's one thing to put out a nice slice of More of the Same, but this sounded like Fountains of Wayne had spent a couple of months working with that fictitous Hotline. It certainly wasn't emphasizing the "new" in "new release". My affection toward their music wouldn't grow or shrink from this new collection of songs.

Now I just feel odd about the whole experience. I was caught unaware that a band I love was putting out a new CD, and now I'm almost bummed out that it sounded so unimportant and unnecessary. I wonder how long I'm going to hold out before breaking down and getting it, if I ever do.