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fun. – Some Nights

February 13, 2012

Radio-friendly, anthems album loses before it even begins.

Welcome to toe tapping music that still begs the question that apparently was never asked: “why?”. Everything that was “fun” about the first album, all the carryovers from the Format, are lost in favor of a sound that wants a quick cash in with cliche phrases specifically designed to get the tween crowd to spend that cash. Not only the lyrics, but even the music is processed, just asking to be liked so blatantly and desperately. It is as if fun. wrote a single that is, admittedly, fantastic and then decided to cash in on that single with every other song to brow-furrowing confusion.

The first track, “Some Nights (Intro), starts immediately on the wrong foot by sounding like a Queen rip-off that should have been left on the cutting room floor. Nate Ruess has always flirted with these similarities, but has always managed to escape from them in his music without much of the negatives associated to sounding like this. But all of the goodwill that one could have for him is lost in this track. It is so lazily his style that one has to wonder if Ruess is just a one trick pony, unable to grow from a sound that he did so well with three years ago. The next track, “Some Nights”, establishes one of the only positives of the album, one that you will hear over and over again as the album spins. It’s the percussion of the album that does so well, keeping the toes tapping and the heads nodding. The percussive elements remind the listener of Phil Collins; even the vocal melodys, albeit with a different sounding singer, remind you of the man’s work on the disney movie, Tarzan. You almost forget to even listen to the lyrics, which is a really good thing, because the lyrics are unimaginative at best and terrible at worst. There is really no substance here, other than the desire to cash in on a catchy phrase, and even then, the phrases aren’t even that catchy.

The next track, the single, “We Are Young”, is a standout track, one that really captures the message that this album is trying to send. It is the track where everything just comes together and works. Every misstep that I can hear is realized for success in this track. This is a catchy, radio-friendly song that deserves all of the attention and goodwill that it receives. I can’t say enough good things about this track. “Carry On”, the next track and latest single, does well to distinguish itself from the previous success, and it isn’t bad. One can really understand why it was chosen as the next single. While it doesn’t have much that brings it to the level that “We Are Young” reaches, it is a worthy attempt.

The very next track, “It Gets Better”, opens with the line “What have we done?” and that is the same question I ask fun.: what have you done? This song is the low point of the album. Painful to listen to with no redeeming qualities. The song is called “It Gets Better”, but it never gets better, it just gets worse. The best part of this song is the end of it, because then you know you are finally done listening to this sad excuse for a song. From there, it is a mixed bag of fantastic percussive elements and interesting tempo changes with unimaginative lyrics and the most questionable inclusion of autotune in recent memory. Ruess and gang reach in their bag of talents to grab whatever they can, and it is a wonder that none of what made Anathallo so original makes its way in. You hear the Format, you hear elements of the previous fun. album, and you even hear drummer Jack Antanoff’s project Steel Train, especially in the closing track, “Stars”.

In the end, what the listener is left with is a mess of auto-tuned tracks seeking an audience that may even arrive to give this album moderate success. There is a gem here in “We are Young”, and when this album works, it succeeds admirably, with toe-tapping catchiness. But the problem is, that is incredible rare on this album of missteps and confusing decisions. The label change to Fueled By Ramen is quickly seen in the quality of music, where instead of a band seeking to make its distinct mark on the industry, it just mimics the labels previous successes, such as Panic! at the Disco. The rage I have for this album comes not from the fact that this album is so bad, but rather that it had the potential to be so good. Hopefully the next album, if there is a next album, will right all of the injustices and wrongs that this album has made.

Some Nights will be released by Fueled by Ramen on February 21, 2012. Preview the album here and you can pre-order it here.


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