#12 on the 2012 Musical Bacon Calendar
Some Nights by fun.
Quick: name the most embarrassing album you still qualify as “good” and listen to at least once a year. For me, that album is the Counting Crows’ August and Everything After, which came out my freshman year in college and clearly had some profound effect on my 19-year-old brain. Ever met a college freshman? They think they have the world by the balls. Looking back now, nearly 20 years in the future, that was clearly not the case (nor do I have the world’s balls in my hand today, either). But there lives August, the 7,000,000+ selling album, with well-meaning songs of love and loss.
Some Nights, by the (uncapitalized, full-stop) band fun., is that type of album. I imagine many many people twenty years from now still listening to this album, hitting play on their thumbnail-implanted music listening devices, and reminiscing about the strange-but-fun college days.
This album is unapologetically over the top. Foot stomping, resounding choruses, anthemic refrains that make you want to stand up and sing along at the top of your lungs. And that’s precisely why I like it. There are clear influences of Queen in some of the songs, but without the depth. And there are some aspects of it I wish weren’t there — like the heavy-handed usage of auto tune, which I personally don’t mind, but makes it difficult for me to convince somebody else to listen to it. And there’s even a song I purposefully skip over (“It Gets Better”) when listening to the album (something I almost never do for any other album I listen to), because to me it’s just shy of the sound of nails scraping on a chalkboard.
But overall, this is a great album. It even has the song of 2012, “We Are Young,” which doesn’t get this rating because it’s the best song, it’s merely the song that saw the most airplay. It was in numerous commercials, and I swear the chorus was stuck in my head for about 24 days after I got back from seeing the band at Sasquatch! 2012. They were the highlight of the festival, the surprise I didn’t expect to love so much. I had this to say about their performance:
“This may be the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to!” shouted clearly excited (and perhaps a little overwhelmed) lead singer Nate Ruess. The band is somewhat infamous for a song you’ve most likely heard due to massive commercial licensing, “We Are Young,” from their 2nd album Some Nights. Its the kind of song that seeps into your subconscience and won’t budge.
The band fills a niche I didn’t see as being devoid of talent until now. They’re a reimagined Queen, and Ruess is definitely Freddie Mercury, back from the dead. His dynamism, combined with the rest of the band’s enthusiasm for the material, makes for a fantastic show. A couple of the members of the band were extreme multi-instrumentalists, mastering keyboards, sax and trumpet with aplomb. Filled out with drums, another guitar and bass, the six of them all appeared to be having the time of their lives on stage. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you sell a song.
If you can recall “We Are Young” (shown above) and can enjoy listening to it, I suggest downloading Some Nights. This will not be the last we hear of fun. And, who knows, you may be wanting something to remind you of this time 20 years from now.
13. Tramp by Sharon van Etten
14. Fear Fun by Father John Misty
15. Love This Giant by David Byrne and St. Vincent
16. To The Treetops! by Team Me
17. The Master: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood
18. There’s No Leaving Now by The Tallest Man On Earth
19. Transcendental Youth by The Mountain Goats
20. A Church That Fits Our Needs by Lost In The Trees
21. Hospitality by Hospitality
22. Free Dimensional by Diamond Rings
23. History Speaks by Deep Sea Diver
24. A Different Ship by Here We Go Magic
25. Negotiations by the Helio Sequence
26. Moms by Menomena
27. The Sound of the Life of the Mind by Ben Folds Five
28. Shields by Grizzly Bear
29. Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun by The Wooden Sky
30. Fragrant World by Yeasayer
31. Reign of Terror by Sleigh Bells