Some Nights is Uneven, But Exciting

Album Cover for Some NightsI could say a lot about the new album by Fun. I could rave about my favorite songs and rant about the difficult ones. To spare both of us, here are a few highlights dashed off the top of my head.

Some Nights (Intro)
It’s heavy on the Queen influence, but I love the sound effects. There’s some mystery going on in the background in tandem with the singer’s woes. Probably one of the few “Intros” worth keeping and listening to. But the album doesn’t sound like it follows from this intro at all. However, I think every song is distinct, like a single “night” with its own world of characters and sound.

Some Nights
This song knocks me out every time. Verses that swagger and stomp leading into a pre-chorus that Vampire Weekend might have arranged. But it all works! Even the spoken word interlude. It sounds like vocalist and songwriter Nate Ruess is punching out the walls, sort of trashing everything to match a trashed emotional state. The best use of Autotune on the album as well. As an alternate instrument made out of the vocal, it’s a pleasing touch.

We Are Young
I tend to skip this song, it’s a little overplayed. But I can’t say enough about the hook in the chorus. It’s the definition of an ear-worm. Easy to replicate and loop in your head, a little repetitive and with a dynamic range in the whoa-ohs that keeps it interesting. Janelle Monáe is kind of wasted in her role though. I look forward to some day hearing a true collaboration of her artistic spirit and voice with Fun.

One Foot
The best explanation I have for this is that it’s a goof. Even more than “It Gets Better”, it’s a sonic event that you only need to hear once or twice. Want to blow your speakers and feel crushed by a wall of sub-bass and marching band sonics? Break out “One Foot”. It’s a courageous experiment, but I would have made it a B-side. On a side-note, the lyrics are awful. Even taken as bitter hyperbole, I can’t get around the dangerous level of self-righteousness.

Why Am I The One
Take a listen to “The Lion King” soundtrack and then listen to this song. Nate Ruess stated in the audio commentary (available on Spotify) that this song has a “very Elton John” feel. This is the rare time when that’s a good thing. It also means that you’ll be reminded of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” in the double tracked harmonies. Hakuna matata, man. Fun has always borrowed richly.

With songs that are double-stuffed with hooks and speaker-straining sonics, you have to sing along (loudly) to “Some Nights”.