I'm Adam Isacson. I live in Washington and work at the Washington Office on Latin America. I'm a dad, a husband, and I don't get enough sleep.
KEVIN WHELAN: There were 30 songs and he [Interscope A&R guy] finally dwindled it down to two that he liked. They were “the hits.” So he’s like, “Redo these two, make the distortion louder,” you know, all the same shit — “want drums louder, vocals louder,” — all that stuff. Then he’s like, “Come to my office, we’ll play it on my big system and we’ll see.” So Charles wrote “This Boy Is Exhausted” and it was essentially about,”Fuck you, you’re not going to sign us anyway, but you’re making us do all this shit in front of you.” I must tell you, it was a beautiful moment to be in a band, sitting in the big crystal office, listening to the music pump out, and watching this guy. And then at the end, he said, “Fuck you, I don’t like you guys either.”
Reasonable music fans might have hoped or even assumed that the myopic A&R man in question suffered the sort of karmic destiny befitting one who overlooks a masterpiece. Unfortunately, the facts are not so easily palatable.
KEVIN: That A&R guy? Yeah, he signed the Strokes.
From an epic “oral history of The Wren’s The Meadowlands,” a brilliant record that is now 10 years old, published at stereogum.com.