Fun. – [Album]

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

If there’s any song that feels poised for “Pumped Up Kicks”-style ubiquity, that song would be Fun.’s “We Are Young.”  The first single from the band’s new Some Nights album has already topped the Billboard charts, as a Glee cover, months before the album’s release, and has been inescapable thanks to its commercial use in a Chevy Sonic ad.  Not only that but, just like that aforementioned Foster The People track, it is maddeningly catchy.

Some Nights as a whole is a bit difficult to categorize. This collection of songs includes upbeat harpsichord-backed tracks about loneliness and encouraging chants that have been excessively auto-tuned, but the album may be a less diverse collection of songs than Fun.’s 2010 effort Aim and Ignite.  Where that album felt like it might belong to the canon of emo bands like Panic! At The Disco (with whom Fun. toured in 2011), Some Nights seems like something which could more aptly be described as post-emo.  

Of course Fun. doesn’t shed its emo aesthetic completely.  The song “All Alright,” with its prominent drums and hyperbolic lamentation “I’ve got nothing left inside of my chest,” could belong in the My Chemical Romance catalogue.  But most notably, the release of Some Nights has brought on Queen comparisons, due largely to Fun.’s operatic “Bohemian Rhapsody”-inspired intro track and the chanted opening of the album's namesake song. At the top of the titular song singer Nate Ruess adopts a vocal style reminiscent of Freddy Mercury on “Fat Bottomed Girls”―but if Ruess begins with deep, commanding vocals, he neglects to sustain them throughout the song and he finishes in auto-tune territory.

Throughout the album, the heavy auto-tuning and vocoder-ed falsettos splattered around feel like unnecessary constructs―especially on songs like “It Gets Better,” where Ruess might as well be T-Pain. Auto-tuning can eliminate all of a singer’s personality and, in this case, it seems to shortchange Ruess, who actually does have a powerful voice. If anything, the auto-tuning only succeeds on the album’s final track, where there’s a Wallpaper-esque R&B vibe and the computerized vocals seem to be pushed into outer space.

Ruess (who bears a passing resemblance to the comedian John Mulaney), along with Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff make up the New York band, and Fun. certainly seems to be on the verge of… something. In an age where Glee can make your song a hit before you have the chance to, there's no telling what that something might be though.



Some Nights
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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