‘It’s a radiation vibe’

I benefit from a traditional that The Yankee has kept for, I dunno, most of her life. It goes like this. When it snows overnight, you have chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.

It snowed last night.

And it was the best kind of snow. The sort that arrived in the evening of a night I didn’t have to be anywhere, accumulated to an amount that was in no way an imposition to travel. And, most critically, it was gone by mid-afternoon.

We took a walk at about 2 p.m. to admire what was left in the woods.

The kitties stayed inside, because they are inside cats, and it is cold outside. And they have their creature comforts. For instance, here’s Phoebe sitting on a two-cushioned chair.

On Saturday she was napping on a pillow. The pillow was on top of the mattress. The mattress is also covered by many blankets. She knows what she’s after.

Poseidon, he’s more accustomed to roughing it. You can see him here, just on the one cushion, taking advantage of the arm rest as a pillow.

These are the most comfortable cats in the known kittyverse.

I took a midnight ride on Saturday-Sunday, tapping out 28 miles. Felt slow and, at times, it was! But then at one point the game awarded me a green jersey. It just digitally appeared.

And it means that I was the fastest person on a sprint segment. This is a platform with global appeal, but the result has to be the time of the evening. (I am not a sprinter.)

The 2023 Zwift route tracker: 42 routes down, 78 to go.

It is time, once again, to dip our toe into the soothing waters of musical nostalgia, with the Re-Listening project. I’m going through all of my CDs, in order of acquisition and listening to them in the car. It’s one part memory, three parts fun and, the occasional skip-to-the-next track. This is my second round of the Re-Listening project. I did it a few years ago but, this time, decided to write about it. Easy blog filler! But these aren’t reviews, no no, they’re memories. They are fun, they are whimsy, as most music should be. And today the waters of musical nostalgia are provided to us by Fountains of Wayne.

Their self-titled debut album was released in late 1996. I am guessing I picked it up in early 1997. “Radiation Vibe” was on the radio, and peaking at 14 on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart that January. Probably somewhere around there I got this. It was a giveaway from one of the radio stations I was working at, rather than something I purchased. I liked the single.

And I hated the rest of the album. This record did not enter the US Billboard 200, but peaked at number 20 on the US Heatseekers Albums Chart. Not that I knew that at the time, or that it mattered. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t realize they were behind “That Thing You Do” in 1996. You assume, through the distance of time, that the movie song was a huge hit. But it was only moderately successful. It is also not on this album, which is what we’re talking about today. (This is the second single.)

As I said. Didn’t care for it in 1997. Liked the one single, but that’s it. Probably didn’t listen to it for more than two decades, until the last Re-Listening project. And let me tell you something fascinating that happened. I realized, decades on, that everything that happened in indie and pop music since 1996 is on this record.

True story. Every nuance, every string, every open note, every bit of air, every emo chorus inspiration, every bit of millennial adolescent spark are all found on this album. It’s incredible. This is the point of the Re-Listening project.

This is a lot to accept, I know, especially if you’re invested in the period. But you can’t escape the evidence.

Others did some of this earlier, and bigger acts completed the form with great success later. But the synthesis of what came before it — The Zombies, The Hollies, maybe some BOC and others — is all right here, the output of what was to come later is all found in the power pop ingredients in this record.

The band broke up in 2013, an 18-year run, but Fountains of Wayne released five studio records. They found themselves in commercials and soundtracks and with Grammy nominations. Their biggest hit was in 2003, a song that reached 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 12 on the Hot Rock and Alternative Songs chart. It was another song I didn’t like, so what do I know?

What I know is we’ll be moving swiftly through the next installment of the Re-Listening project. It’s another whiny record. (I need to make better skip rules for this game.)

Until tomorrow, then, have a great start to your week!

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