If you’ve watched any television at all the past few months, or listened to the radio, you’ve probably heard the almost annoyingly catchy anthem “We Are Young” by indie-pop/rock outfit fun.—the first single off their new release Some Nights. The single, which features a cameo by Janelle Monae, [URL: http://www.jmonae.com] recently enjoyed placement on a Chevrolet Superbowl commercial, and the cast of Glee recently covered it, as well. Not to mention that it’s been a top iTunes download ever since it was released, and has hit number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The band fun. is what is known as a “supergroup”—that is, a band made up of experienced bandmates from other notable bands. In this case, fun. consists of Andrew Dost (formerly of Anathallo); Jack Antonoff (from Steel Train); and frontman/band founder Nate Ruess, who formed fun. when his band The Format broke up. Some Nights is the band’s sophomore effort, and has already taken them much further than their debut album Aim and Ignite (2009), which peaked at a modest number 20 on the alternative charts.
The upshot is, Some Nights has taken this band further in the past few weeks than it has gone in the past three years. As a result, a lot more people are having fun. than before.
(Oh, you knew that was coming. A band named fun.? Come on.)
Actually, fun. is an appropriate name for this band, and especially with the record Some Nights—because fun basically describes the songs on the record. Not sugary-sweet “fun,” but more like “life sucks but we’re gonna have fun anyhow” kind of fun. The entire project has a bigger-than-life feel to it, starting with a rock-opera-style introduction, and kicking off into the catchy title track “Some Nights.” From there, the foot-stomping, hand-waving, crowd-chanting moments just keep coming. The record is rhythmic, party-like, and theatrical all at once, causing numerous reviewers to draw comparisons to Queen. If you detect a bit of hip-hop influence in the production, that’s on purpose, too; the band called on Kanye West’s producer Jeff Bhasker to sit at the helm. All these elements come together to make Some Nights a real feel-good experience at a time when people seem to need just that kind of pick-me-up.
The early success of Some Nights on the charts has caused some folks to say fun. has “hit their stride,” but I think that’s far too easy. I think things are moving much faster than that for this band, and I think instead of hitting their stride, fun. is now running to keep up. This supergroup has the potential to hit superstar status in a very short period of time.