The Songs of Summer #80: ‘It Must Be Summer’ by Fountains of Wayne
It’s Power Pop Monday!! ‘It Must Be Summer‘ is a summery pop nugget from Fountains of Wayne, one of the few bands around still flying the flag for that criminally underrated musical genre those in the know refer to as power pop.
Speaking of power pop, why the hell isn’t guitar-based pop/rock music more popular? I mean, it’s always been kind of a bastard stepchild of rock music. Starting back in the 70’s with bands like The Raspberries (who are Songs of Summer alumni), Big Star and Cheap Trick, up through the 80’s and 90’s with the likes of Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub, and The Lemonheads, power pop has always been just under the radar. Take Fountains of Wayne; they had a minor hit with ‘Stacy’s Mom,’ but they’ve recorded albums and albums worth of near perfect pop songs…I don’t get it. What’s not to like about rock bands playing songs with some of the catchiest melodies and hooks ever put down on tape? Whatever…. the landscape is littered with the carcasses of a million and one bands that should’ve been massive hitmakers but for whatever reason weren’t.
‘It Must Be Summer‘, from the 1999 album Utopia Parkway, is prototypical Fountains of Wayne…upbeat, catchy as all hell melodies, with lyrics that tend to lean towards to the more melancholy. It’s summer, and this dude is just pining for his girl, who he can’t get ahold of. And he’s falling apart. Everything’s wrong…The sun is beating him senseless. It’s the story of a thousand teenage crushes gone wrong.
By the way, my process for these Songs of Summer posts goes like this: wake up, see what the day holds in store for me, check the weather, pick a song, write about it. It’s pretty much off the cuff; not a lot of thought goes into it, and not a lot of time goes into me throwing them together each day. It’s a rather spontaneous thing…As such, there’s bound to be grammatical errors, misspellings, and incomplete thoughts. It’s kind of how I roll. So if unprofessional, semi-coherent ramblings are not your thing, I apologize.
BONUS!! Speaking of the Fountains of Wayne approach to writing catchy songs, Alt-Country singer Robbie Fulks (who also knows a thing or two about writing melodies) pokes fun at the band and their songwriting process. I honestly thought this was Fountains of Wayne the first few times I heard it. Robbie Fulks nails the FOW sound perfectly while roasting the band’s ridiculous pop song sensibilities. I love this song so damn much.
Hey songwriters!! Having trouble writing that next hit song? Just call the experts at the Fountains of Wayne Hotline: