Friday Happy: Supermindbendinggroup edition

For this edition of Friday Happy, sit back and enjoy this video from new band Tinted Windows, then let’s discuss.

Why do some of these musical upstarts seem so familiar, you ask?  And why is your brain getting that tingling sensation that either a stroke or a complete black-hole alternate-reality, double-Spock mind crush is impending? Details after the jump (thanks to Cribbster for the tip).

Tinted Windows is a supergroup, of sorts, though the more proper term might be super-whaaaa?-group, consisting of the following:

James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins (the real Smashing Pumpkins, Billy)

Bun E. Carlos, the drummer for Cheap Trick (I want you to want to Wikipedia it for yourself)

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne (a seminal Jersey band you will remember most for when the worst song in their entire catalog, “Stacy’s Mom,” become a hugely popular in 2003. Schlessinger also wrote the title track for the reliably pleasant Tom Hanks movie That Thing You Do.)

Taylor Hanson, with James Iha hair

AND, on vocals:

Taylor Hanson.

The story on this band’s web site of how they came together reads like absurdist fan fiction written by a not terribly creative teenager in the mid-90s, the same kind of person who would turn in stories to class about Batman and Don Mattingly teaming up to fight Cobra:

Taylor and Adam first crossed paths in the mid-Nineties and stayed friends ever since. “Taylor and I had always talked about trying to do something together,” says Schlesinger, “maybe write some songs, or play some shows – something.” Meanwhile,



James’ and Adam’s respective bands had toured together, and the two have been collaborating on various projects for years, including guesting on each others’ records, producing other groups together, running indie label Scratchie Records and co-owning a recording studio in Manhattan.James, Adam and Taylor started kicking around the idea of writing and recording some songs that would set Taylor’s unmistakable voice against some loud guitars.

When discussing possible drummers to round out the group, they thought, according to Taylor, “Who do we know that can play drums like Bun E. Carlos?” They ran through a list of names, before realizing the obvious.

Obviously. And here’s a quote from an April Newsweek article about the band:

It all started when Schlesinger and Hanson met in the mid-’90s. Schlesinger was approaching 30; Hanson was 14. “Adam and I met in 1996 when we were both making our first records,” Hanson says. “Over the years, we would just keep in touch and hang out periodically. We always talked about doing something together, and eventually the stars just aligned.”

So the guy from Fountains of Wayne was a Hanson fan. And here’s the thing about Tinted Windows: They’re not terrible. It’s hyper-poppy, all big energy and choruses choreographed to a delicately tuned measure of catchiness. It’s trying to receate a degree of harmless power-gum music, kinda like how The Pipettes set out to capture that 60s pop sound. Plus, I am more curious to listen to whatever James Iha is lending his guitar talents to than any one of the franchise Smashing Pumpkins bands Billy Corgan has muddled around with over the past decade.

I could easily envision their songs getting sold to various advertisers of products such as carbonated fruit drinks or to the CW Network to soundtrack promos of upcoming shows.

Everyone ripped on Hanson back in the day, mostly because we were in high school and still riding out that whole grunge wave of hating anything bright and sunny and commercial (some people are still riding this out). But people forget: for what they were, Hanson was a pretty talented band. They were kids who wrote their own songs and played their own instruments, and I defy you to find a song that so immediately and indelibly affixes itself to your cortex and echoes in in the round as “Mmmbop.”

This conversation with Cribbster about sums it up:

Jonathan: i mean, taylor hanson wrote some pretty good songs for hanson in the last few albums.

as for “mmmbop,” i mean, how many fucking songwriters are forced to show the entire world what they wrote when they were 12?
and i’m pretty sure he was about 12 when he wrote that.Jonathan: basically. i mean i was eating reduced fat chips ahoys on my couch watching full house when i was 12. that’s what i did.

Go on, find the YouTube video for MMMBop. You know you want to. I won’t tell the Irony Police.

7 responses to “Friday Happy: Supermindbendinggroup edition

  1. Sounds like Cheap Trick. I’m actually in the middle of writing an essay reconsidering Hanson as the rightful heirs to the Jackson 5.

  2. Tinted Windows are great. Unless you’re DMC. Then they mean nothing.

  3. I was actually thinking the very same thing yesterday. They’re a lot like Jackson 5, and then I was thinking, “Wow. People are going to be soooo into Tinted Windows, and it’s going to cause everyone to reconsider Hanson, and the record label is going to re-release a Hanson greatest hits album, and the reviews are going to be very complimentary, and everyone will say, ‘Hanson was a good band, man.’ Including the people in high school who teased me when I said I thought ‘This Time Around’ was a very nice CD.”

    It’s really kind of annoying. Kids didn’t like shit they should have in 2000. Now, it takes Taylor Hanson to amass some sort of other-worldly god-group for me to get my justification. It’s really quite annoying.

  4. Whoa, whoa. I’m pretty sure Tinted Windows are not going to be popular. I think the four of them are going to have a really good time together but let’s not get crazy.

  5. I will agree with Barry. I’m pretty sure they don’t take themselves very seriously either, as evidenced in this music video. I expect their aspirations for success are not very high as all of them (maybe even Taylor?) have had other critical and financial successes to ride out on for the rest of their lives.

  6. Hmmmm. My sister likes Tinted Windows. That’s my litmus test. If my sister likes it, everyone will like it. And my sister knew about this band before I told both of you about it. That is nothing to sneeze at.

  7. Thank you for this little blurb on TW. It does sound crazy how they met, and the fact that those four are actually in a band in laughable. But the music they make is very commercial pop, and it was meant to be like that. Also, thanks for sticking up for Hanson. And actually, Taylor recorded MMMBop with his brothers for the first time in 1995, and it was written even before that. So, you *really* can’t judge the band based on that one song. I would have liked you to put a more recent photo of the band though… yeah, they looked stupid in 1997, but show everyone what they’re missing now! Plus, their last two albums, released on their own label, have some really great songs on them. I urge everybody to check them out on iTunes, especially their 2007 release “The Walk.”

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