Apr 17, 2012

Album Review: Fun. "Some Nights"

Based out of NYC, "Indie" Pop/Rock band Fun. is rocketing out of indie underground and into mainstream stardom, and I wanted to get the low down on the band and their latest album to hear what all the buzz was about. By the way, that's not a punctuation error, the band's name is "Fun.", but they also like to spell it "fun." and ".fun.". How quaintly indie and droll. Their latest album, a sophomore release, "Some Nights" was debuted February 21, 2012 by record label Fueled by Ramen, which would have been an equally awesome band name. I usually don't bother mentioning record labels as I think they're a antiquated system to be phased out or turned upside down in the near-future, but that's a great, great name. And as some interesting backstory, I actually stumbled upon this band by hearing their single, "We Are Young" on this year's WrestleMania featuring The Rock vs. John Cena. So it's pretty mainstream!


1) "Some Nights (Intro)" Hilariously theatrical and beautiful. Like a Queen ballad or a wonderfully orchestrated Moulin Rouge number. A great kick-off to the album and one of the only songs with the word "intro" in it that I would actually enjoy going back to listen to repeatedly. *****

2) "Some Nights" - Some very Freddie Mercury inspired vocals here with some African tribal beats in the background. If you like blunt auto-tune, there's also a bit on that toward the end. A big clash of styles but surprisingly works well. While I don't put it on the same level as the Intro, this is definitely an amazing song. Poppy, upbeat, and infectious. *****

3) "We Are Young" - The Billboard #1 smash hit single off the album and my favorite by a country mile. The lyrics hit me hard, the chorus stays in my brain for days at a time, and I can only pray that this isn't a song that gets overplayed but played just enough to woo everyone else. The vocals really come off passionate too, which is what really lights a fire under me about this track. An easy, easy, easy *****.

4) "Carry On" - While this song has a lot going for it, I think it needed just a little bit more time in the oven to bake before reaching perfection. Motivational theme, good lyrics, but it's a softer song and doesn't come across as passionate as the previous tracks. Maybe if I were listening to this album on a car ride I'd skip it, but maybe I'd listen to it depending on the mood I was in. *** 1/2

5) "It Gets Better" - The chorus is the only good thing about this song, but only if it's marketed toward the younger demographics like middle-schoolers. At best, this could turn into somebody's guilty pleasure (because we all went through that Simple Plan phase, which I know by mentioning dates me. I wish I could think of like an 80's guilty pleasure, or even an early 90's guilty pleasure, but I think the point is still intact). "It Gets Better" is some pretty weak sauce compared to the gems on this album. **

6) "Why Am I The Only One" - Much like "Some Nights (Intro)" this track comes off very theatrical like a Moulin Rouge number, which there's no shame in. This is a great soundtrack song. It paints a very vivid picture and evokes very relatable emotions. *****

7) "All Alone" - I'm on the fence about this song. It's upbeat and passionate in tone, but the lyrics and story told are morose and sad. The beat is amazing though and has a hip-hop vibe to it.  It definitely grabs the attention of the listener, but it's not one of my favorites. ****

8) "All Alright" - This song would drive my blog-partner Nick crazy because it uses his pet peeve in music - children singing in the background. I usually see nothing wrong with it, and in this song it's kind of quiet and subtle, almost missable, but it's still there enough to irritate me. I don't think it was necessary, but I also don't like the placement of this track. It's incredibly nitpicky but I don't like following "All Alone" with "All Alright". It almost makes the two songs confusable. The song itself is decent but doesn't grab me the way others on the album have. A mediocre ***

9) "One Foot" - The lyrics aren't really amazing and the music choice is bizarre, but listening to this track I can only imagine it's a blast to see or play live. "One Foot" may have just been a jam session that Fun. has a lot of ... fun playing. Not great for the album though. A skippable ***

10) "Stars" - Goes on and on and on for almost seven minutes and not once does it impress me. I think this was a loving tribute to the vocalist's mother, but I was basically tuned out through most of it. Probably the biggest valley of the album. * 1/2

11) "Out On The Town" - A bonus track which probably should have been switched with Stars, which only detracted from the album. This song doesn't blow me away, but it was a solid track and definitely helps get rid of the taste in my mouth left by Stars. *** 1/2


My Highlights:
"Some Nights (Intro)", "Some Nights", "We Are Young", and "Why Am I The Only One"

Overall Rating:
Averaging all the star ratings together and rounding up to the nearest quarter, the total rating for this album is *** 3/4. However, given the ratio of hits to misses on this album and lack of really poor slumps that many albums have, I'm going to use my super-duper reviewer brownie point powers to adjust the rating to a full-fledged:


****
Four stars out of five!

image from Amazon