Sound — 7
As the principle songwriters for Fountains Of Wayne, Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger bring a certain pop sensibility to the predominately rock sound of the band. The songs are fantastic right down to their core, but the band manages to add more styles and sounds to their songs without ruining them. In fact, the songs only get better when they are transformed into full productions. Each track on Welcome Interstate Managers has it's own distinctive personality, a few of which take a sharp turn from what you would expect from rock band. "Hung Up On You," with it's country inspirations sets the prime example. In this department, lead guitarist Jody Porter shines with his ability to play a six string in almost ANY style. Despite his shying away from lengthy solos, his lead work adds a new depth to every song, proving he can stand up to any of today's guitar gurus. WIM also features FOW's use of keyboards which, though subtle, manage to expand even more on the album's appeal. All in all, the sound is that of a band that has found it's place in today's world of expanding genre's. A maturity and confidence is definetely evident in the band that once covered Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time."
Lyrics — 6
Singer Chris Collingwood certainly puts his stamp Welcome Interstate Managers with his own unique style. The often tongue-in-cheek lyrics range from deep and reflective (Valley Winter Song) to downright non-sensical (Mexican Wine). However, he still manages to catch your attention on every song. There are tracks about coming home to your girl after a hard day at work (a universally appealing subject) to quarterbacks reflecting on life while he's about to make a game-winning pass. And, of course, there's that one song about the MILF. You know, that song about Stacy's Mom?
Overall Impression — 9
Ultimately, Welcome Interstate Managers will forever be remembered for it's only hit, the irritatingly catchy "Stacy's Mom," which is unfortunate because the album contains so much more depth than that. I would definetely place it as one of the top albums of 2003. The album is perfect for joy riding in your car and simply enjoying life one day at a time. Standout tracks include: Mexican Wine, No Better Place, Valley Winter Song, All Kinds of Time, Hey Julie, Supercollider. Overall, this album is one of my favorites and is an enormous step in the right direction for Fountains Of Wayne.