Adam Schlesinger has long been a songwriting hero of mine, and I was absolutely heartbroken when I learned that he had passed away from COVID-19 complications in early April. He was someone who genuinely elevated the craft of pop songwriting to an artform, without precious or self-important about it.
Now, friends of Schlesinger from across the spectrum of his work — from rock music to Broadway to movies and TV — have come together to put a 31-song tribute album, covering his whole discography:
Adam Schlesinger was a prodigious and prolific songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He died on April 1 at the age of 52 as the result of complications from COVID-19. Not only was Schlesinger in multiple beloved bands—including the power-pop-leaning Fountains of Wayne and sophisticated electro-pop act Ivy—but he also collaborated on songs for movie soundtracks and the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
A wide array of artists touched by Schlesinger's life pay tribute to the many musical projects of which he was a part via the Bandcamp-exclusive benefit compilation, Saving for a Custom Van. The 31-song collection features collaborators, tourmates, friends, and fans putting their own spin on songs spanning his entire career. Saving for a Custom Van, which takes its title from a lyric in Fountains of Wayne's "Utopia Parkway," is co-curated and co-released by Father/Daughter Records and Wax Nine.
One-hundred percent of Saving for a Custom Van proceeds will be donated to MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is dedicated to helping music industry and community members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first single from the album features Kay Hanley from Letters to Cleo riding on "Radiation Vibe." Other highlights include Sarah Silverman, who had been working with Schlesinger on a new Broadway music called The Bedwetter, performing "Way Back Into Love" from the film Music and Lyrics alongside Ben Lee. Rachel Bloom presents a jazzy cover of "Stacy's Mom," while Schlesinger's other Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-writer, Jack Dolgen, does an indie rock take on "What It'll Be" from that same show. Charly Bliss performing "Pretend To Be Nice" from Josie and the Pussycats is pretty much perfect, and there are other great covers from Ted Leo, Motion City Soundtrack, Lisa Prank, Remember Sports, Jeff Rosenstock, Sad13, and basically every other modern artist that I love.
It's a great record, for a great but sad cause, and it's only available on Bandcamp (Bandcamp will also be donating their portions of all album sales to the NAACP this Friday, June 19 — so you can buy the album then for a double-whammy of social good).
Saving For A Custom Van: The Album [Father/Daughter Records & Wax Nine / Bandcamp]