Maybe the first time you heard the band “Fun.” was when their number one hit “We are Young” topped iTunes this month.
For me, I’ve followed them since I saw them open for my favorite band Manchester Orchestra at a show in Denver in 2009. This was shortly after they released their freshman album “Aim and Ignite,” so please, trust me when I say their second album “Some Nights” is no sophomore slump.
I’m not telling you to go buy the “We are Young” single off iTunes. I’m telling you– for pete’s freaking sake– to buy the whole album. For $9.99 you can buy yourself a friend for life.
Classified on iTunes as an indie pop trio, “Fun.” Simultaneously combines catchy melodies with a soul-depth Justin Bieber could only dream of.
For serious indie fans, “Fun.” is made up of a dream-team indie musical triumvirate: Nate Ruess (former lead singer of “The Format”), Andrew Dost (former jack of all trades of “Anathallo”) and Jack Antonoff (lead guitarist of “Steel Train”).
Translated for all the rest of you, what I’m saying is that if “Fun.” was a woman, I’d find her awfully sexy.
Ruess is a unique and talented vocalist. It is a classic pop-style voice, but with an almost irritated-intensity to it.
For me, the lyrics, combined with the instrument of the song-writer’s voice is the foundation and soul of an album. Ruess has done something very unique in “Some Nights” by combining the ease and release of a simple catchy chorus with the intelligence of verses that deal with his most intimate and personal relationships: God, his parents, siblings, best friends, women, and music fans.
He sings about his quest for peace in the midst of sorting out these relationships and hopefully reconciling them (think an indie Kid Cudi). The third song on the album “Carry On,” I think best embellishes one of the core messages of the album, “May your past be the sound / of your feet upon the ground / carry on.”
But Ruess understands that he’s singing to a culture that confuses what’s “depressing” with what we actually need to take a good-hard look at in our lives. He masterfully packages his painful issues with hopeful melodies and hooks that draw in the listener.
“Fun.” pairs traditional alternative band instruments with every sound-maker you can imagine: vocal synthesizers, trumpets, flugelhorns, glockenspiels, violins, etc. As musical-artists, they are capable of expressing themselves at a level few can match. They are creative, original, intentional, thoughtful, honest and well… fun.
One of the main themes in the album addresses the party scene, yet with much more intellectual view than most music that sings about this topic. It explores the relationship between the confusion of fulfillment and emptiness that comes with the party scene.
In their first track “Some Nights,” Ruess addresses the nights where he encounters emptiness. The bridge perhaps best illustrates their attempts to grasp the issue, “My heart is breaking for my sister, and the con that she called ‘love’ / but when I look into my nephews eyes / man, you wouldn’t believe the most amazing things / that come from some terrible nights.”
It is tragic to me that our generation really has few artistically talented bands that we value. Bands like “Fun.” give me a glimmer of hope that good musical taste can once again become a trait of our culture.