February 22, 2012

Test Spins: fun.

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Three years after the release of their album Aim and Ignite, American indie-pop band fun. has returned with its sophomore album titled Some Nights. The band seems to be going for bigger and better things with its new album, and the lyrics of lead single “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monae confirm the band’s grand ambitions — “Tonight / We are young / So let’s set the world on fire / We can burn brighter than the sun.” Overall, Some Nights is a triumphant album with sing-a-long anthems, wildly energetic beats and youthful lyrics. Listening to the entire album from beginning to end shows its consistency and continuous creativity.

The “Intro” to the album is theatrical, a little eerie and most definitely attention-grabbing, drawing similarities to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Frontman Nate Ruess channels his inner Freddie Mercury immediately and continuously displays his expressiveness and vocal range throughout the album.

Some Nights introduces the cool beats and upbeat energy patterns that are exhibited in most of the following songs. This song makes you want to sing and bang a drum along to the joyous chorus with an African chant feeling. “Intro” is a great song to start off the album — it invites us to join and march along and is probably the strongest song next to “We Are Young”

“We Are Young,” is the song to best represent the entire album and the band at this point of its career. It’s the band’s first certifiable hit and its claim to fame. Fortunately, fun. did not compromise its artistic integrity to churn out more hits. Although it has changed its style a bit from its first album and that of the members’ previous bands The Format, Anathall and Steel Train, it still manages to be original.

The lyrics are likely directed towards angst-filled teenagers in the song “Carry On:”  “If you’re lost and alone / Or you’re sinking like a stone / Carry on / May your past be the sound / Of your feet upon the ground / Carry on.” They go for the same angsty vibe on “It Gets Better:” “Like starlight crashing through the room / We’ll lose our feathers / Yes I know it hurts at first / But it gets better.” After hearing “It Gets Better” I couldn’t shake the feeling of a ’90s pop rock song that could have been written by Blink-182, but fun.’s work is far more unfinished.

Up to a certain point, the songs seem to blend together in a mass of extremely catchy sing-a-longs. The songs “All Alone” and “All Alright” have similar titles and an even more similar sound. Nevertheless, they are still enjoyable and don’t sell wholly to the pop genre that seems to dominate the radio.

The weakest track here is “One Foot;” the band tries to achieve an epic ska-like anthem, but it misses and the repetitiveness gets to be too much. The album wouldn’t suffer without it. But the last song “Stars” is refreshing and an appropriate closer to the album. It abandons the over-excessive catchiness of “One Foot” and offers a surprising use of a voice vocoder.

Overall the album is unique, consistent and promising for the buzz band. We can only look towards more creative albums lying ahead in its future. Going off of the album’s lyrical theme of finding a way home, (“’Cause we are / We are invincible / We are who we are / On our darkest day / When we’re miles away / So we’ll come / We will find our way home”) fun. has found its home in the music industry and is ready to set the world on fire.

Original Author: Samantha Myers