Review: fun.’s new album ‘Some Nights’

Jennifer Suh

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With the release of their second album Feb. 21, fun., a baroque pop band, has already taken the runner-up slot on the iTunes singles chart, second only to Katy Perry’s “Part of Me.” With their success climbing, I had to check them out.

When I first heard fun.’s second album, Some Nights, I was immediately reminded of “Glee.” Only later did I find out that last year the hit TV show covered the group’s single, “We Are Young.” Based on a YouTube clip of “Glee” featuring the song, there seemed to be no name better to describe this New York trio.

The track “Some Nights Intro” sounds as if you are listening to a musical. For a mainstream pop artist, fun.’s music surprisingly remains colorful and unique. This short intro can be best identified by the frontman Nate Ruess’ extremely exaggerated and theatrical vocal style, light yet cheerful piano instrumentals and the harmony-singing chorus.

The next track, “Some Nights,” suits any Disney adventure film soundtrack. This song especially resembles the vibe of “Hakuna Matata” in The Lion King. Aside from the unfitting auto-tuned vocals, the track feels enjoyable with a steady background rhythm.

Their first single that was released last September, “We Are Young,” is a collaborative work with Janalle Monáe, a rhythm and soul singer with powerful vocals. It is an anthemic song similar to Youth Group’s “Forever Young” (now better known as Jay-Z’s “Young Forever”). Ruess sings “Tonight/ We are young/ So let’s set the world on fire/ We can burn brighter/ than the sun.” Of course, Monáe’s elegant vocals are the hidden gem of this track in contrast to Ruess’ overlying dramatic vocal style.

After this song, all the songs started to sound very similar to each other. When auto-tuned, Ruess sounds like British pop singer Mika, and while singing acoustic he resembles Patrick Monahan of Train. Although the songs are much brighter in nature, the general feel of the album is a lot like Panic! at the Disco’s debut album due to the theatrical elements of each track. In contrast, fun.’s new album is full of happy songs with optimistic messages. Perhaps because of their incredibly particular style, not many individual songs stand out on their own, but the album as a whole has an idiosyncratic quality in that it is completely differentiated from other Top 40 music.

With their latest album released Tuesday, fun.’s fan base is continually growing. They will be performing in Chicago with an already sold-out show at the Vic Theater on April 14.

Jennifer Suh