Album Review: fun. ‘Some Nights’
From the introduction of the title track–beginning with a simple piano melody and polite applause, and building quickly into a raucous space cabaret channelling Queen–it’s absolutely clear that Some Nights is not going to be an album that will hold anything back. When the song proper begins it surprises again, with tribal rhythms and gospel style vocals, peppered with about 50 other genres in fleeting glimpses. Even a little autotune. Absolutely anything to build its theatrical, overpowering effect.
fun. were inspired by Kanye West to be liberated of any desire to hold back, and made a conscious decision to unleash each song and to let them be as big and as grand as they possibly can be. The album is very heavily infused with elements of hiphop, and makes at least some use of absolutely every other style and instrument known to man.
The songs can seem to be very disjointed, and while a case can be made for ADD here, if not musical bipolarity, they do hold together cohesively, while I initially feared they had presented something of a cacophony. It’s as if each song has an introduction before a curtain lifts and they are set loose at full throttle. It’s a formula which becomes a bit too predictable, but there is not much out there along a similar vein to match this sound. It’s good on a per-song basis, and pretty good as an album.
‘We Are Young’ is about the perfect anthem for the drive to meet with a friend after work on a Friday night for a 30-something, and the sentiment here comes across as being fairly genuine, nearly (though not quite) escaping the layers of cheese probably inherent to this sort of lyrical pandering. The track has certainly been heavily exposed through TV soundtracks and car commercials, but it hasn’t lost its effect, and for that it is likely an underrated song rather than an overrated one.
‘It Gets Better’ is exemplary of a 90s pop-alternative song structure, with 80s drums and flashes of things from decades we may not have reached just yet, or decided to skip over. ‘All Alone’ brings harpsichord into hiphop with good effect.
It’s nothing short of amazing how many styles of music are thrown into each track, and it is definitely surprising that it doesn’t fall apart. They seem to take their favorite things from any given genre of music and just smash them together regardless of any potential compatibility issues, and by and large it works, partly because so much is going on that this becomes the effect, rather than there being a lot of competing effects.
It’s a somewhat short album at just under 46 minutes, and it feels like it’s over quickly because of its pace. Probably a good thing, as you do get a full serving of all the variety fun. has to offer with this release, and if it gave you the chance to get sick of it the results might be a little grating.
Some Nights is a very upbeat and theatrical record, and shouldn’t be mistaken as aspiring to be anything more than that. The band does visit some fairly serious topics, but never takes them very seriously, refusing to wallow or present any kind of negativity. This album could be a manifesto for a way of life, and while it’s a little shallow, it’s definitely fun.