Fountains of Wayne – Red Dragon Tattoo

I’m participating in HansPostCard Song Draft. Here is my 9th pick.

Wow, well here we are in the 9th round of the draft.  For my penultimate choice, I’ve decided to add another song from my favorite genre of music, power pop.  Way back in Round 1, I chose the power pop classic Cruel to be Kind by Nick Lowe.  But I just can’t limit myself to one!   For today’s choice, I want to feature Red Dragon Tattoo, a song from one of my favorite power pop bands, Fountains of Wayne.

Fountains of Wayne (named after a lawn ornament story in NJ) put out 5 albums of power pop gems from 1996 until they split up in 2013. The two main bandmembers and songwriters, Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger, had a knack for telling these amusing, often hilarious slice-of-life vignettes wrapped up in incredible guitar driven pop melody earworms that always hit the sweet spot for me.  Whether it’s the guy wondering why the girl of his dreams is with a motorcycle biker (“Leave the Biker”), the guy trying to figure out how to pick up the women behind the desk at the DMV (“Yolanda Hayes”), or the teen with an perhaps unhealthy obsession with his girlfriend’s mother (“Stacy’s Mom”, their biggest hit), Fountains of Wayne drop you into these people’s lives for a few minutes of power pop bliss. 

Red Dragon Tattoo (off their sophomore album Utopia Parkway) is one of my favorites – a story of a perhaps slightly misguided guy who has decided that all he needs to do to win the girl of his dreams is to get a tattoo.  Its clear that he’s never done anything like this before, and the song details the day he goes to get the tattoo.  I love how the lyrics match up really well with the melody.  It all builds to the bridge, which stills makes me laugh out loud when I hear it:

Will you stop pretending I’ve never been born?
Now I look a little more like that guy from Korn
If you came a little bit closer
You’d see it isn’t painted on, oh no no

Can’t be sure, but not sure if the tattoo is going to do the trick for our hero….

Sadly, Adam Schlesinger passed away in April of 2020 from complications of COVID-19. 

Lyrics

Monday, gonna take a ride on
The N train down to Coney Island
With the money I saved
Gonna get me engraved

Drink down a lot of Basil Hayden
Get kicked out when I can’t see straight and
What an island to be on
Under the neon

Red dragon tattoo
Is just about on me
I got it for you
So now do you want me?
With nothing to prove
Will you be my honey?


Oh yeah, in you I confide
Red dragon tattoo
I’m fit to be dyed
Am I fit to have you?

I hear the man say, “Wanna see the others?”
A mermaid and a heart that says mother
But I don’t know from maritime
And I never did hard time

I brought a .38 Special CD collection
Some Bactine to prevent infection
And in case I get queasy
A photo of Easy Rider

Red dragon tattoo
Is just about on me
I got it for you
So now do you want me?
With nothing to prove
Will you be my honey?


Oh yeah, in you I confide
Red dragon tattoo
I’m fit to be dyed
Am I fit to have you?

Will you stop pretending I’ve never been born?
Now I look a little more like that guy from Korn
If you came a little bit closer
You’d see it isn’t painted on, oh no no

Red dragon tattoo
Is just about on me
I got it for you
So now do you want me?
With nothing to prove
Will you be my honey?


Oh yeah, in you I confide
Red dragon tattoo
I’m fit to be dyed
Am I fit to have you?In you I confide
Red dragon tattoo
I’m fit to be dyed
Am I fit to have you?

19 thoughts on “Fountains of Wayne – Red Dragon Tattoo”

  1. Danged good song. Well-crafted with clever lyrics. Tight instruments. It’s a little faster-paced, but they remind me of Cake. So sorry to hear about the passing of Schlesinger. Too many unnecessary deaths from Covid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah Stacys Mom has its thing and the video is hilarious but really like the lyrics to this one. Really couldn’t decide which had to go with – this or another FOW song or something by the Smithereens or Matthew Sweet. Well …. There is another song draft on the way next year 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is more down to earth and more tangible if that makes sense…mine will be older…of course lol
        Are you going to be in the TV series draft?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes leaning towards doing the TV draft. I’m much more a music guy than a TV guy but could come up with 10 shows. Need to get back to Hans about it

        Liked by 1 person

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