If Dilbert played in a rock band

I have a new favorite band. They’ve actually been around for seventeen years, but I never took the time to give them a fair listen. (Hey, I’ve been busy.)

What first grabbed me was their choice of album and song titles (Welcome Interstate Managers, “Bright Future in Sales,” “Utopia Parkway,” “Song of the Passaic”). This is a band that loves to skewer the insipidity of industrial life, as often practiced. Their song topics are grist for the mill for organizational change agents (that might be you) who would like to see more spirit, color, and joy in officeland.

Here’s a video of “Hey Julie” featuring their patented bash-the-boss humor.

I keep thinking that if Ray Davies and the Kinks were born in the US in the 1970s, say in North Jersey, they would probably be writing songs like “Hackensack” or “Song of the Passaic.”

The band is named after a lawn ornament store in Wayne, New Jersey. Of course.

Here’s a live clip of FOW performing their 2003 hit single. “Stacy’s Mom.”

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  1. Okay, if you'd said "Fountains of Wayne" in a word-association test, I would have said "annoying" or "obnoxious."

    I cannot imagine what one song I heard that made me think that.

    Cause it weren't either of these, oh no.

    1. Joel, check out some of their tunes on iTunes, like “The Summer Place,” “Someone to Love,” or “Richie & Ruben” (about two entrepreneurs who blow through everyone’s investment dough). Funny stuff — and searing social commentary. Smart songwriting, great harms, excellent production. This band is in a class by itself. Their videos don’t quite keep up (tho I like the dog in the first clip).

  2. Always liked their name and their cynical take on normal life. I see less of Ray Davies and more The Graduate in them. The real world is a madhouse and the only escape is to act subversively. Kind of a suburban "V".

  3. One of their songwriters, bassist Adam Schlesinger, was born in Montclair and it shows. To someone who's never been to NJ, "Song of the Passaic" sounds like a glorious tribute to a pristine and historic waterway — "the fair Passaic seeks the sea". (Passaic is an Indian name for valley.) Those in Newark, however, might be forgiven for having a different impression of the river, which is still awaiting a dioxin cleanup (thanks to an Agent Orange chemical plant nearby).

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