THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2012|
Posted by: Joe Puglisi
This is how you make a new album. The debut from Fun. (Aim and Ignite) was characterized by orchestral whimsy, theatricality, and the pop stylings of lead singer Nate Ruess. Some Nights takes the original formula (Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost) and spices it up with pop-leaning production from Jeff Bhasker, who honed the band's burgeoning interest in Kanye West by splicing beefy beats and big synth with Ruess's already compelling melodies. Although the "Some Nights Intro" is all Fun. (complete with clapping and swelling), the first three actual songs hit like nothing the bands ever done before, like exclamation points instead of statements, with big bold choruses and weird amalgamations of genres. Fun. is more than just fun this time around.
Highlights "We Are Young," "Some Nights," and "Carry On" deserve their own reviews. Each is a perfect encapsulation of the Ruess lexicon, with brilliant trim by the band and a fine tuned sheen of production. Other songs, like "I Am The One," leans a little more towards the typical Fun. emotional balladry.
Then songs like "It Gets Better" and "One Foot" (which is essentially a rock song built around a "sample" like most rap songs) warp the typical Fun. sound almost to the point of non-recognition. The prerogative of the band to experiment with sounds and techniques they've enjoyed in other people's music is not only admirable here, it's refreshing. In one song, Fun. does better with auto-tune, drum machines and a four-chord riff than a lot of notable buzz bands can accomplish in an entire LP, only to move on to something completely different on the adjacent cut. Versatility is rare in today's pigeonhole-happy music landscape. It's nice to finally have something that leaves the genre buzzards scratching their heads and Googling "orchestral indie-hop&B" to see if that's a real thing.