fun.: Some Nights
The mainstreamo boom of the early-to-mid-2000s was hard to classify because each band that benefited from the boom had such a different sound. There was the post-punk sound of Thursday verses the pop/rock sound of Jimmy Eat World verses the prog-rock sound of Coheed and Cambria. Then there were outlier bands like The Format whose folk meets indie sound combined with whiny vocals got them lumped into the movement. When the band called it quits in 2008, lead singer Nate Ruess started a new project with Andrew Dost of Anathallo and Jack Antonoff of Steel Train. The project became known as fun.
Although the group was started quickly after the Format’s demise, clearly Ruess was prepared to leave his previous life behind. Gone are Ruess’ once whiny vocals replaced by a more confident vocalist with ambition to experiment with harmonies. These vocal experiments are highlighted immediately on “Some Nights.” The track opens with unaccompanied vocal harmonies that sound straight out of Queen‘s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The ambitious flourish gives way to a vocal style more similar to something heard on adult alternative stations. This adult alternative sound is only enhanced by the piano, acoustic guitar, and drum accompaniment. But no single track on Some Nights is content to reside in the adult alternative genre for too long, even though that is surely the label the album will get.
The band experiments with use of “hip hop” drums on tracks like “All Alone” and “One Foot,” the latter of which sounds like a beat made for Beyonce rather than fodder for an adult alternative group. The album’s closing track, “Stars” use of hip hop drums combined with autotune vocals sound like something off of Kanye‘s 808s and Heartbreak.
These ambitious attempts to take a mainstream sound and make it not boring and uneventful largely work. Although lyrically the album is not breaking new ground, the aesthetics overwhelm any weak sentiments. Some Nights stands as a beautiful work and one of the best album’s of the year so far.
MP3: fun. “Some Nights”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl
fun.: Some Nights