Fountains of Wayne: “Hackensack”
Well, I hope all you East Coasters survived Hurricane Irene intact! Now that the storm has passed, it’s time to finish up my 3-part “Recent Travels” theme, having begun with Massachusetts and New York last week. The final piece in the trio is New Jersey, which also happens to be where I spent my early childhood (ages 2-9, approximately). After my birth in New York City and subsequent NYC apartments for a couple of years, we moved to Hackensack, lived there for a year or so, and then spent the rest of our New Jersey years in Englewood Cliffs. So as you can imagine, the song “Hackensack,” from Fountains of Wayne’s 2003 album, Welcome Interstate Managers, has a bit more meaning for me than any of the other Jersey songs that I could have chosen for this. I can (very vaguely, although a little better now since I passed through the town while on this recent trip) envision the Hackensack of my toddlerhood while listening to the song. However, unlike the song’s protagonist, I neither still live in Hackensack nor am obsessed with a childhood friend from there who has gone on to fame and fortune in Hollywood. I have no delusions that this woman will return to Hackensack and fall in love with me someday. In fact, I never attended classes of any sort there, so I don’t even know anyone at all from Hackensack.
Nonetheless, it’s a lot of fun to say the word “Hackensack” — and Fountains of Wayne, New Jerseyans themselves, took advantage of that to make a great song out of it. And what better group to do so than the one who has always found such great song fodder in suburban living?