“There are some nights I hold on to every note I wrote,” – the opening line from the second record by American band fun. (that’s with a period at the end), which describes the rest of the album, entitled Some Nights. The record is themed to consist of songs and thoughts one thinks about at night in a very self-depreciating way with a focus on broken relationships, reliving past experiences and planning for the future. All of these thoughts hidden underneath mostly bouncy, upbeat pop-inspired music with influences of hip-hop production, courtesy of hip-hop producer Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z). With such an array of sounds and thoughts mixed together, the image of a permanent loner with the desire to fit in comes to mind and it seems like this year, it might happen.
The song We Are Young is quickly turning into the surprise hit of the year. The opening verse, with vocals by lead singer Nate Ruess, sound as if they were taken from a Don McLean recording. Slightly folky until the chorus kicks in, branching out with a hopeful plan of burning bright than the sun. What’s interesting about Nate’s vocals are that there’s more of a similarity to the outgoing Freddie Mercury on some of the album’s other tracks. The first track Some Nights Intro open the listen to some very high expectations with the strong vocals that are once again met on the second track, also titled Some Nights – big vocals, clapping rhythms but the lyrics help to set up the album’s theme of constant wondering: “Well some nights I wish that this would all end/cause I could use some friends for a change.”
Ruess is expanding on the sound that Mika brought to pop five years ago by channeling Freddie but instead of taking the familiar flamboyancy of both singers, fun. instead keeps things levelled with the obvious indie pop sound while occasionally allowing some vocal FX. And it’s not all down-and-out, as is mentioned in Some Nights, some terrible nights can bring amazing things: “my heart is breaking for my sister/and the con that she called loved/but when I look into my nephew’s eyes/man you wouldn’t believe.”
Like most night-thinkers, there is always the occasional misstep. It Gets Better is that one thought that is messy, has a forced edginess and insipid lyrics. The type of song he should have moved to the ‘no’ pile the next night. But it does get better. The song One Foot is a thought process that focuses on making things better for everyone else, albeit only so we can have “just a better place to die.”
Some Nights is the type of album for the heavy thinker, perhaps the reckless mind, to ponder over. With bouncy melodies masking the darker thoughts and memories, fun. provides a bittersweet musical experience to remind us that we all have moments we would change, want to relive or things we think we want to achieve, even if we never do anything about it. Some nights it’s nice to just be able to think about them.
1. Some Nights Intro
2. Some Nights
3. We Are Young [featuring Janelle Monáe]
4. Carry On
5. It Gets Better
6. Why Am I The One
7. All Alone
8. All Alright
9. One Foot
11. Out On The Town