In 2003, Fountains of Wayne unleashed the ultimate MILF anthem, “Stacy’s Mom.” It served as a “Mrs. Robinson” for the new era, acknowledging the horny desires for a friend’s hot mom without innuendo or coded language. Trading the lonely housewife for an independent single mom, the pop-rock ballad documented the perspective of a young man attempting to pivot the affections of his classmate, Stacy, into opportunities to attract his true love interest, Stacy’s mom. The whole song hitched on one particularly memorable rhyme repeated throughout the chorus — “Stacy’s mom has got it going on” — and it’s been stuck in our collective heads ever since.
Last week on TikTok, Washington, D.C.-based indie pop band Sub Radio released a cover of “Stacy’s Mom,” reimagining it to reflect the current moment much in the way the original did nearly 20 years ago. But rather than focus on Stacy’s mom, the song is targeted toward Stacy’s lesser-discussed father. Since “Stacy’s Dad” doesn’t qute rhyme with “got it going on,” this main lyric has been changed, too, to the very catchy, very 2022 line, “Stacy’s Dad has got me down bad.”
As with the original, “Stacy’s Dad” relies upon the familiar premise of hanging out with Stacy in an attempt to get closer to her father. It trades the tropes of the high-powered mom who goes on business trips and hires people to do her yard work for the quintessential “dad” image. In the video of the cover, members of the band even wear cargo shorts and clean white New Balance sneakers while holding tools and books about home repairs. “Did your dad get back from the hardware store?” one lyric asks. “Is he there, or is he reading about the Civil War?”
According to Adam Bradley, lead vocalist of Sub Radio, the cover was written after the band started taking song requests from fans during live streams on Reddit and TikTok, and “Stacy’s Mom” became a common song they’d indulge viewers with. “At one point, I jokingly sang some alternate lyrics, and that captured enough people’s attention that they started asking for the alternate version of the song on every stream,” he says. “At a certain point I was like, ‘Okay, now I’ve actually got to write this stupid song.” Given its popularity in live streams, they decided to record a TikTok of it, complete with choreography and the aforementioned “dad” costumes.
The cover currently has 10.2 million views on TikTok, and has been shared countless times across the rest of social media, too. The band now has over 600,000 followers on TikTok — 120,000 more than they had prior to the cover. They say it’s brought a ton of new attention to the group, though things were already picking up for them beforehand. (Sub Radio is currently on tour, with stops in the Midwest, Florida and Virginia over the next month.) “I had a guy come up to us when we were playing in Baltimore who was like, ‘I just heard about you guys yesterday. I saw the ‘Stacy’s Dad’ video and just bought a ticket today to come see you,” guitarist Matt Prodanovich tells me.
Sub Radio’s version isn’t the first cover of “Stacy’s Mom” to twist the gender of its subject, nor even the first to do so from a queer angle — in 2004, the group Uncle Izzy dropped a “Stacy’s Dad” with the lyric, “Stacy’s dad has been cruisin’ guys like me.” Sub Radio has two bisexual members, including Bradley, who wrote the song. But their version banks more heavily on nostalgia for the original, while further emphasizing language of the current moment. Take the following two lines: “Ever since your mom came out, your dad could use a guy like me. Stacy’s dad has got me down bad, he’s all I want, and I think he’s a real Chad.”
Just a couple of years ago, calling a guy a “real Chad” and saying he has you “down bad” would have been meaningless. This is, of course, part of the appeal of the cover — it’s funny just how “2022” it is. The use of “Chad” gives new meaning to the original in some ways as well. When “Stacy’s Mom” first came out, “Stacy” hadn’t yet become a term used by incels to describe conventionally attractive women. Listening now with that context, “Stacy’s Mom” becomes even more of a love song to MILFs — “Stacy” may well be the perfect woman, but it’s her mom the singer wants. Or, as in the new version, it’s her dashing dad.
Bradley says that the response to “Stacy’s Dad” has been overwhelmingly positive, though as with anything that goes viral, there are a few contrarians. “But we’ve also seen a lot of really heartwarming comments about how Adam Schlesinger [the lead singer of Fountains of Wayne, who passed away from COVID-19 in April 2020] would have loved this, which I don’t know enough about Adam Schlesinger to know whether that’s true or not. But that was very nice to hear,” he says. “A lot of queer people have also been saying, ‘This is always the version of the song that’s been in my head, so I’m glad somebody made it for real.’”