Fun. is something of a supergroup, in as much as each band member had been in other reasonably successful bands prior to this one.
Some Nights, their second album, finds the trio doing what they do best: Crafting anthemic rock songs with catchy melodies and excellent musicianship.
It’s a fantastic album that above all else is a great bit of (n): something that provides mirth or amusement.
The band is Nate Ruess on vocals, Jack Antonoff on guitar and trumpet, and Andrew Dost on, and I’m not exaggerating, everything else. Various tracks feature additional personnel on orchestral string and woodwind instruments. Ruess’s vocals have an honest energy and emotion lacking from many modern rock vocalists. You get the feeling that he’s lived through the events he’s singing about. While nominally a tenor, many songs feature an incredibly powerful upper register. I’ve read comparisons to Freddie Mercury, which I think would only serve to infuriate Queen fans, but in this capacity, there are similarities.
Some Nights follows similar ground as their first album, Aim and Ignite. It is a pop rock album, and unabashedly so. Big, theatrical orchestrations give the songs a size the lyrics dictate. It’s definitely rock, with pianos and guitars all woven together, but the soundscapes are enormous. This isn’t a Coldplay-esque wall of synthesized sound. It’s more of like a gigantic rock band on an arena stage with a full orchestra as backup.
It starts off strong, with the commanding drum beat and harmonies of the title track, followed by the first single “We are Young.” If that song doesn’t get you going, I’m not sure what to tell you. “Carry On” follows a similar formula, with layer upon layer building and weaving to this massive sound sure to blow out some speakers. The intensity wanes a bit in the middle of the album. Though when you’re coming off those first few tracks, I suppose it would have to. Some Nights ends strongly, though, with “Out on the Town,” a fantastic lamenting-a-breakup song as there’s ever has been.
It’s the mood, though, that sells this album. Most of the songs aren’t about being happy, per se. This isn’t some sort of Owl City-type happy cheese. These are songs about resolutely not being sad. That yes, things suck, but they won’t always. It’s not just “it’s going to be ok,” but more like, “damn right it’s going to be OK. Now let’s get loud.”
And that’s the best part of Some Nights. It’s that rare modern album that you want to set loud, keep loud, and sing along at the top of your lungs.
we are young
so let's set the world on fire
we can burn brighter
than the sun”
–“We are Young”
Brent Butterworth and Geoff Morrison combine their years of gear testing and knowledge in one überblog of irreverence and techiness.