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Album: Fountains of WayneReleased: 1996Charted:
"Radiation Vibe" is rather ambiguous in meaning, with abstract lyrics such as: "Are you alone now/Did you lose the monkey/He gave you backaches/And now you slouch." Other lyrics suggest it could well be a homage to summertime: "It's a radiation vibe I'm groovin' on/Don't it make you want to get some sun/Shine on, shine on, shine on." The song was penned by Fountains of Wayne's front man, Chris Collingwood. Bassist and fellow songwriter, Adam Schlesinger, expressed his affection for the track to The Onion A.V. Club: "That was a Chris song. But that song really started the band. Chris and I had worked together for many years before that song existed, and we had kind of taken this break. All the stuff that we had written before that just had a lot less personality or something. I don't think we had quite broken out of imitating our heroes up 'til then. It was just fake Nilsson songs and fake Elvis Costello songs and fake Beatles songs and whatever we were listening to. You didn't hear a lot of us in it, especially lyrically. I think there were some good songs from that early stuff we were writing, but Chris wrote 'Radiation Vibe' one day and played it for me. He just wrote it as a goof, but I was like, 'Man, that's a great song.' I don't know what it is about that song, but it's got some kind of magic, fun quality to it that we never really had in anything before. I got very jealous of that song, and then we recorded a version of it and it came out so great. It really was the inspiration to write that whole first record."
Adam Schlesinger told the radio station KDHX that the song is a live favorite: "We play 'Radiation Vibe' which is our first single ever, and we play that at almost every show we've ever played."
In January 1997, this song peaked at #14 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.
Hem and Male Bonding are among the artists to have covered this song.