Review Summary: A dynamic and personal album
Fun. sure has been getting a major spotlight in the media lately, after their new single "We Are Young", was covered by the cast of Glee and climbed to #1 in the Billboard Hot 100. It's surprising how an indie band made it to the top of the charts, surpassing major mainstream artists like Adele, One Direction, and Katy Perry. It definitely takes a dynamic track to make it up that high, which is exactly what fun. has delivered in their sophomore album, Some Nights.
Fun. was formed by Nate Ruess, (The Format) Jack Antonoff, (Steel Train) and Andrew Dost (Anathallo) after the Format's disbandment in 2008. They released their debut album, Aim and Ignite in 2009, which was packed with Queen-esque quirky indie pop hooks. The album didn't receive much attention from the world, but fun. toured with artists, like Paramore through late 2009 and 2010.
In 2011, fun. started writing their next album, Some Nights, which was later released in February of 2012. The album is packed with energy, and has tastes of hip-hop, along with the theatrical poppy style they had in their debut. This album is phenomenal, a near-spotless compilation of songs that will stick with you for quite a while.
The opener, "Some Nights Intro", is a brief introduction to the album's title track that makes you feel like it should belong on Broadway. With meaningful lyrics similar to those of "Be Calm" off of Aim and Ignite, and the dynamic vocals of Ruess, it is a short, but deep and necessary part of the album.
The title track is an airy, yet complex tune with an amazing beat that is extremely vivacious the whole way through. It's hard to resist listening to this song, with it's foot-stomping beat and great energy. With lyrics like, "I try twice as hard and I'm half as liked…", "Some nights I wish that this all would end, 'cause I could use some friends for a change" and "My heart's breaking for my sister, and the con that she called "love"…." it's easy to see that this is not your idea of a happy song, lyrics-wise, but it never puts me in a bad mood.
"We Are Young" is a song lots of people know, due to it's recent popularity. It's a slightly melancholy song, but upbeat and melodic. With it's lyrics, "Tonight, we are young, so we'll set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun." it's has a message that is versatile for almost any situation. Although not particularly a highlight of the album for me, it's still a great listen anytime.
Taking a step back from the brightness of the rest of the album, you get to "Carry On", a mellow but uplifting and optimistic tune. "If you're lost and alone, or you're sinking like a stone, carry on." shows how much optimism you can pack into an album that is also full of hardship. "Carry On" is definitely a great, airy tune that makes me think every time I hear it.
"It Gets Better" shows off the hip-hop influences of the album. Inspired by the bands support in LGBTQ rights, it is another cheerful and buoyant song. Although the vocal effects can be slightly overwhelming at times, it has a great message and is a great, bouncy song.
A beautiful but blue track is "Why Am I The One." It has a gorgeous melody and heartbreaking lyrics that you just want to sing along to, like "My life's become as vapid as a night out in Los Angeles" and "We were fools to think that nothing could go wrong." Even with it's sad tone, it is a highlight that makes a great transition to the second half of the album.
One of the most unique songs, in my opinion, off this album is "All Alone." It is another heartbroken song but is hip-hoppy and vibrant. "I fell in love with a wind-up souvenir." and "How do you cry with inanimate eyes" You're never gonna smile with the way that you are." showcases this quirky track's unique qualities, both in lyrics and composition.
Setting the cheery songs aside, you get to "All Alright." Although optimistic in chorus with, "Yeah, it's all alright, I guess it's all alright. I got nothing left inside of my chest but it's all alright." it's a dark and slightly depressing song. It is complex in nature, with tearful lyrics, but is very enjoyable.
One of my favorites off this album is "One Foot." It has a fantastic, foot-stomping beat with thundering bass, and is unforgettable played live. Although it has some anti-religious lyrics like, "What you're calling a sin isn't up to them. After all, I thought we were all your children." it also has a lot of heart with "Lucky that my father's still alive. He's been fighting all his life, and if this is all I've ever known, may his soul live on forever in my song." This is a great song that is bound to be a hit.
The last song off the regular-length album is "Stars." It is the longest song off the album, almost topping 7 minutes, and is often overlooked and underrated due to it's use of auto-tune. I, however, think this effect contributes to the slightly sad, dreamy sound. It has many great lyrics, like "Some nights I rule the world, with "Barlights" and "Pretty Girls," but most nights I stay straight and think about my mom. Oh God, I miss her so much." that allude and dwell deeper into Ruess' personal life. Although the song is a bit long, I never lose interest due to it's intoxicatingly dreamy and almost sleepy sound. This is an amazing finish to this great album.
On the deluxe CD version, there is a song titled "Out on the Town." It is another fantastically woven song with more meaningful lyrics. It's another very personal song, with "I set all my regrets on fire, 'cause I know I'd never take the time to unpack my missteps and call all of our friends, I figured they would take your side." and "I drink a lot, I'm not sure if that's new, but these days when I wake up from a night I forgot, I just wish that it never came true." It is a more dim-lighted song than the others, but is amazing nonetheless.
I think this album is really amazing, the lyrics seem to tie in all over the theme of "Some Nights," even showcasing that phrase in other songs beside the title track. It has its few flaws, but they are overshadowed by the amazing qualities this album has to offer. "Out on the Town" says "I know I could be more clever, and I know I could be more strong" but I think fun. has got "clever" and "strong" written all over this album.