Some Nights by Fun. (Fueled by Ramen/Nettwerk, 2012. 46 minutes)
Fun. is an American indie pop band from New York City that was formed in 2008 after lead singer Nate Ruess broke up with his Arizona-based band, The Format. He formed the band with Andrew Dost of Anathallo and Jack Antonoff of Steel Train.
As I sit writing this review, I am one day removed from receiving word that I needed to listen to Some Nights by Fun. I was in the store at the time, getting some groceries for the week, and I was told to leave the shopping cart in the aisle, and run home to listen to it. In retrospect, I should have left the cart and sped home.
Normally, I wait for an album to marinate so that I can fully understand its intricacies. In this case, one days is enough. I’ve been listening to Some Nights constantly since yesterday; it’s that good.
The word I would use to describe the album is “epic”. It’s a mix of Queen’s big-chorus sound, Flogging Molly’s Irish themes, Billy Joel’s melodic lines, and Peter Gabriel’s well thought out production all wrapped up into a modern electronica pop.
Formerly of The Format, lead-singer Nate Ruess, and his band, Fun., owe their new popularity to the newest single, “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monáe. It’s on the radio, debuted in a commercial during the Super Bowl, and it’s pretty catchy. It has a boomy, sing-along chorus that will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face.
Listening to the album, it opens with an intro to the song “Some Nights”, the title track. Its intro is weird, so my original appraisal was not high. Two minutes later, the main part of “Some Nights” begins, and I was thrilled. It’s exactly the kind of song you would listen to driving down the freeway with windows rolled down and the stereo pumping.
“Some nights I stay up cashing in my bad luck, some nights I call it a draw…but I still wake up, I still see your gospel Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for.”
These lyrics focus on the dualistic nature of life, and how we can be simultaneously depressed and hopeful. The full, Queen-like vocals, with classic 80’s electric guitar soloing in the background eventually dissolve into an electronic, auto-tuned vocal melody against a piano backdrop, somewhat reminiscent of the band, Jack’s Mannequin. Epic.
Inspired by the Past
On the Flogging Molly side of things, the track “Carry On”, has an Irish background of accordions and flutes infecting the entire song with wonderfulness. A full orchestra joins the latter part of the track, adding texture to the song, continuing the percussive fullness of the album.
If you want to hear a wonderfully crafted melody, listen to the Billy Joel-esque, Bee-Gee inspired sound of “Why Am I the One”. Fun. reminds the listener in this track why classic rock still rules. At 2:45, the track breaks down into a rhythmic, piano-driven jig, and the lead vocal line of Nate Ruess dances against the countermelody of the chorus, then breaks into an immense chorus, eventually ending in orchestral bliss.
To end the album, a simplified version of “We Are Young” is sung, which is more beautiful than its earlier jamming version and perhaps an appropriate ending to the end of the album, as it exposes the simplicity of guest artist Janelle Monáe’s voice after such a complex and loud album. In short, this album is absolutely innovative, complex, and loud. Some Nights will cheer you up. Listen to it now; drop your shopping cart in the grocery store and go.
Verdict: 5 out of 5