Local H – “Hackensack” (Fountains Of Wayne Cover)

Local H – “Hackensack” (Fountains Of Wayne Cover)

Long-running Illinois alt-rock band Local H are releasing their new covers album Local H’s Awesome Quarantine Mix-Tape #3 next month. Last month, they shared their take on Looking Glass’ 1972 chart-topper “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl).” And today, they’re back with another track from the project, a rendition of Fountains Of Wayne’s wistful 2003 gem “Hackensack.”

To accompany the release, frontman Scott Lucas penned a short essay for Talkhouse about the song and Fountains Of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, who died of COVID last year:

I was always about a degree or two of separation from Adam Schlesinger, so when he died of complications from coronavirus last year, it hit me kind of hard. We were nearly the same age and his passing made me realize that perhaps I wasn’t as safe from the virus as I’d believed. I suddenly felt a little older — and a lot more vulnerable.

But more than that, Adam’s passing was so sad because he seemed like such a nice guy —I have plenty of friends who actually did meet him, and can attest to that — and nobody likes to see a nice guy go. Despite what I wrote earlier about being old, 52 was way too young, so the sadness was compounded by a feeling of senselessness. It didn’t have to happen.

Fountains Of Wayne’s “Hackensack” has always been famous for being the song with the lyric about Christopher Walken in it, but in the wake of Adam’s death it was the lyrics to the chorus that took on a new heartbreaking depth:

But I will wait for you
As long as I need to
And if you ever get back to Hackensack
I’ll be here for you

It no longer felt like a song about a guy who carries a torch for an old high school crush. Suddenly, it was a hymn to the people we’d lost. An almost Poe-like cry to the great beyond (or from the beyond!), a longing for some mutual communion between the living and the dead. Wait for me and I will wait for you. Kinda creepy, sure — but also kinda beautiful. Like all great songwriters, Schlesinger had written his own tribute and epitaph with “Hackensack.” Something that could live on.

And most importantly — something that could soften the memory of how much it fucking sucks to lose someone like Adam.

— Scott Lucas

Listen to Local H’s “Hackensack” below.

Local H’s Awesome Quarantine Mix-Tape #3 is out 10/8 on Brutal Panda. Pre-order it here.

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