Review Summary: Indie pop experimentation done right.
Is it too late to jump on the Fun. bandwagon? It is? Good. Ok, four years after the initial release of Some Nights, the dust has settled. We need more bands like Fun. now more than ever, bands that are adventurous, not afraid to play with their sound and create something truly unique. That is exactly what Fun. did here on Some Nights, they created an album that defies genres and stands out as something remarkable in an otherwise formulaic world.
The album opens with a piano led intro followed by Nate Reuss' voice singing about "tea parties and twitter" how he's "never been so bitter". The vocal harmonies here are exceptional. It slowly builds with frantic violins and uptempo pianos. This leads into title track "Some Nights" with soaring vocals, infectious drum lines, with vocalist Nate proclaiming "This is it boys, this is war" which is a common theme on this record, if I didn't know any better I would say this was a concept album about joining the military. The only gripe I have here is the over dubbing on Nate's vocals at about 3:30 in, you know the one i mean.
Next we are led into "We Are Young" the world conquering lead single, this song spread like wildfire, it was big, it is a grand proclamation of not being old, burning bright and living every night like it's his last, a great choice for a single but there are better songs here, namely "Carry On" wich stars off with a quite piano intro and Nate singing uncharacteristically softly, but don't worry that doesn't last long. The song is filled with traces of acoustic guitars, accordions, bagpipes and short bursts of frantic drumming and whistles, an unmitigated mess, but goddammit it's wonderful to listen to.
"It Gets Better" is a real high point here on this record, albeit a little overproduced, but nice use of synths, drums and guitars which are usually shunted to the side in favour of vocal melodies and synths. The vocals can get grating, mostly near the end of the track as the overdubbing steps too far, but other than that this is a very enjoyable song.
"Why am I the One" has what I like to call 'third single syndrome' which is usually a ballad, his love life has become "as vapid as a night out in Los Angeles" and asking us "Why am I the one always packing up my stuff?". But he knows he's where he belongs, and with who he needs to be with. An unusually slow song, by Fun. standards, Queen-esque vocal harmonies aplenty.
"All Alone" brings things back up to speed, a very bittersweet love song "But when I hold her too tight, I know she'll break
She just takes some glue to stay". A grand trumpet led chorus for good measure, just incase you thought the song was a little sparse of unnecessary instrumentation.
"All Alright" is the best song on the album, no overproduction evident, perfect vocal harmonies, soft pianos, sombre lyrics to upbeat drums "I've given everyone I know a good reason to leave", "I got nothing left inside of my chest but it's all alright" and downplayed violins add a little bit of atmosphere, excellent work boys.
"One Foot" starts off with grand trumpets with drums banging along merrily. The only forgettable song on the album, iffy religious commentary that doesn't really cut the way it should "I happen to stumble upon a chapel last night. And I can’t help but back up when I think of what happens inside." "What you're callin' a sin isn't up to them. After all (after all), I thought we were all your children."
"Stars" closes the album with a bang. Auto-tune? Check. Queen-esque harmonies? Check. Criminally sparse fuzzbox guitars? Check. Well I think that's everything. "Stars" is a love letter from frontman Nate Reuss to his mother, telling her how much he mises her and how people appreciate what he does, oh and lest we forget the near 3 minutes of repeating "You're always holding onto stars", but there is something strangely engaging about Stars though that I can't quite explain.
This album is an experience that has to be listened to to be really appreciated, I do however feel that bonus track "Out on the town" should have been the closing track instead of Stars but hey, you can't have everything.