by Brooke Ketron
Indie-pop rock band Fun. released their second album, Some Nights, on Tues, Feb. 21. Fronted by Nate Ruess, formerly of the The Format, the inventive New York Trio delivers spacious, theatrical sounds with some hit and miss success.
Known for quirky and creative electronic bits, Fun. opens the album with the title track, “Some Nights.” With exotic tones and dramatic time signatures, Ruess belts out a catchy hook reminiscent of Queen. In fact, traces of Queen can be heard throughout the entire song, from quickly sung lyrics to tribal sounding rhythms. “Some Nights” offers the best of the Queen influences, with one exception – auto-tuning. Reuss, whose voice is naturally strong and distinct, is tampered by auto-tuning late in the song, cutting out the real, unaltered feel of what sounds like a Broadway score. While it’s obvious they did this as a playful, stylistic maneuver, it does not work with the song and is more disappointing than pleasantly surprising.
Exploring exotic tones and dramatic time signatures
The voluminous sounds continue with the wildly popular, “We Are Young,” which is more like a combination of two entirely different songs. Lyrics like “Give me a second I, I need to get my story straight / My friends are in the bathroom getting higher than the Empire State,” introduce the theme of mistakes and carelessness that rings true for some young people. It continues with an up and down melody that mimics the highs and lows of being young. Yet the chorus sounds like an entirely different song with a larger than life quality, overshadowing the verses with memorable phrases like “I’ll set the world on fire / We can burn brighter than the sun.” Despite boasting two impressive song types in one, “We Are Young” lacks a cohesive quality, and instead leaves the listener wondering how to classify what they just heard.
“It Gets Better” falls just short of its promise
“All Alone” embodies the lighter more playful side of Fun. without being confusing. The semi hip-hop loops have a welcoming summer feel, complimenting the carefree vocal and horn melodies, something rarely done in today’s music. “It Gets Better,” however, does not get better. In fact it gets much worse. It sounds like a 15-year-old wrote the entire song in Garage Band music software during study hall, demonstrating poor songwriting and production.
Overall, the album sounds like ten good song ideas, seven of which were not developed to their full potential or were ruined. What little the band seemed to do correctly was quickly ruined by the albums producer, Jeff Bhasker, who refused to allow any kind of raw vocal performance or vibrato on the entire album. While Fun’s attempt to combine different musical genres was a brave swing, they end up striking out nonetheless.