fun. is an American indie pop band based in New York City
that was formed by Nate Ruess, formerly of The Format. After the 2008 breakup of The Format, Ruess then formed fun. with Andrew Dost of Anathallo and Jack Antonoff of Steel Train. fun. has released two albums, their debut Aim and Ignite
in 2009 and their latest Some Nights
in February 2012.
The band's popularity exploded in 2012 after their departure from Baroque Pop
with their hit singles "We Are Young" and "Some Nights", the latter even appearing in the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph
. The album Some Nights
has been critically acclaimed (as was Aim And Ignite
) with Nate's wide vocal range and harmonies as well as its unique combination of classic rock and modern hip hop influences. They have a strong knack for Lyrical Dissonance
, and Nate has been compared to Freddie Mercury
several times in terms of vocal flexibility. They are poppy, upbeat, yet dark, emotional, clever, funny, creative, and most of all fun.
Expect lots of Lyrical Dissonance
, massive vocal harmonies,
dynamics, and Ear Worms
- Album Title Drop: "So we Aim and Ignite..." from "Light A Roman Candle With Me."
- A special edition of Some Nights came with a shirt with the lyrics of the album on it, highlighting every time the title is dropped.
- all lowercase letters: Their name.
- Arc Words: 'Stars' recurs throughout Some Nights, as does the titular phrase. Appropriately enough, the album opens with a song called "Some Nights" and ends with a song called "Stars" (each of which contains references to the other).
- Auto-Tune: Lots of it, but it's only used for effect. A bit of a Base Breaker for the band, since Nate really doesn't need it.
- Badass Boast: "I'm not a prophet, but I'm here to profit, that's all!".
- Bar Brawl: "We Are Young" music video is this... IN SLOW MOTION!
- Call-and-Response Song:
- Call Back: In several fun. songs ("Take Your Time (Coming Home)", "Some Nights" and "Why Am I The One?") "the desert" and "the sun" are used to refer to Arizona and California, respectively. This is a callback to The Format's "On Your Porch".
- A callback to two songs from fun.'s debut album is present in the song "Stars", with the line "Some nights I rule the world with "Barlights" and "Pretty Girls"." The titles are even in quotations in the lyrics, so it's a pretty obvious reference.
- Aim And Ignite has a song called "I Wanna Be The One." Later on Some Nights there's a song called "Why Am I The One?"
- "Take Your Time (Coming Home)" also contains the lyric "I'm through with causing a scene," a reference to The Format's "The First Single". Nate Ruess seems to do this a lot.
- The beginning of "Stars" seems to be a live recording of the bridge of "Some Nights."
- A distorted segment of the bridge of "Some Nights" (containing the lyrics "when I see stars that's all they are/when I hear songs they sound like a swan") is looped throughout the outro of "Why Am I the One?"
- On the subject of "Why Am I the One?"'s outro, once Nate starts to sing "You're always holding on to stars" in "Stars", you will notice that most of the rest of the song is a similar loop to the outro's instrumental.
- Calling the Old Man Out: "One Foot" subverts this. He calls himself out for not being thankful that his dad is alive at all during the bridge.
- Careful With That Axe: During the climax of "Stars." With vocoder effects!
- Celebrity Is Overrated/Lonely at the Top: "Stars." Actually, almost all of the Some Nights album deals with loneliness in every song. There's gratitude for their success in there as well, though, which keeps it from being whiny or Wangsty.
- Concept Album: Some Nights seems to be about the loneliness and misery of perpetual touring with little reward, the singer's regrets of leaving behind a possible Love Interest and missing everyone from his childhood, grieving his mother, and raging at his father.
- Bittersweet Ending: In "Stars," the band finally makes it to the top and while there's still a conflicted attitude in the lyrics, they're mostly positive. But as the song goes on, the tone gets darker and darker and Ruess's voice is more and more heavily distorted to match, the implication being that celebrity has not brought him the happiness he thought it would.
- The Cover Changes The Gender: Averted with their cover of "Call Me Maybe".
- Downer Ending: If Some Nights is a Concept Album, then "Stars" is this. Regardless, it's a very bleak song to end the album with.
- Excited Show Title!: Inverted with their decidedly unexcited band name.
- Genre Shift: Aim And Ignite is Baroque Pop mixed with a hint of Alternative Rock and Progressive Rock whereas Some Nights is pretty much straight Pop.
- Grief Song: "Some Nights" seems to about a girl who passed but haunts the singer of the song.
- Large Ham: Nate's vocals have more than a few things in common with Freddie Mercury.
- Loudness War: Zig-Zagged. "It Gets Better" seems to invoke it by brickwalling the whole time, and the album "Some Nights" clips and brickwalls in a few places, but it's still a very dynamic album and a good few tracks never even max out at all. "Some Nights (Intro)", "Why Am I The One", and "Carry On" avert it gloriously.
- Lyrical Dissonance: It's present in a lot of fun. songs as well as songs from The Format, Ruess' old band.
- To wit, the verse in "We Are Young" reveals that this is about a guy and his date at a bar, whose friends have abandoned them to get high and they have lost a cell phone and the date's going to get drunk to forget about how the guy beat her but all's well because toniiiiiiight, we are young.
- "Some Nights" seems to be about a ghost of some sort and grief, and the narrator's sister being left with a child by some no-good man, but the drum line is so dancey.
- "Stars" is an upbeat and quirky song with extremely bleak lyrics about leaving everyone behind and being stuck alone with nobody to help you get through anything due to fame.
"Some nights I rule the world,
With "Barlights" and "Pretty Girls",
But most nights I stay straight and think about my mom,
- And later repeats the line "No one's gonna save us" over and over again.
- "All Alone" has a surprisingly cheery beat for a song about depression and loneliness.
- Machine Monotone: Again at the end of "Stars".
- Mood Whiplash: Frequently, and often within the same song.
- New Sound Album: Some Nights is less cheery and much more hip-hop influenced than Aim and Ignite.
- Pop: Their songwriting is creative enough that most people forget that they're very much a pop band.
- Precision F-Strike: "Take Your Time (Coming Home)" from their first album, after an entire album with no profanity:
If it's true, then what the fuck have I been doing the last six years?
- Their second album goes through them all in the first two tracks.
Some nights, I say fuck it all
- "Who the fuck wants to die alone, all dried up in the desert sun?!"
- Self-Backing Vocalist: The huge walls of harmonies.
- Shout-Out: The line "This is it, boys, this is war" from "Some Nights" is taken from Nena's famous song, "99 Red Balloons".
- Singer Name Drop: In "At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)":
And they said, "HEY NATE! Yeah it's been a while..."
- Song Style Shift: "We Are Young" definitely fits this trope.
- Also "Carry On" starts like a quiet piano ballad but shifts into a more rock-anthem sound after the first chorus.
- Stylistic Suck: "It Gets Better" seems to be this (unlike the rest of the album, it's heavily brickwalled and Nate's vocals are deliberately unrefined, heavily Autotuned, and distorted), as well as the backing instrumental to "One Foot" (Which just consists of one short loop of a marching band over and over).
- Their First Time: "It Gets Better" is all about losing your virginity, contrary to the belief that it's actually about growing up as a gay kid.
- The other video for "We Are Young" is an allegory for this.
- Two-Hit Wonder: "We Are Young" and "Some Nights" are their only notable hits.
- Wham Line: In "All Alright"
Well I got the call soon as the day hit night
As soon as the headlights lit up the Westside
I stopped the car and came outside
Cause I know that tone
I remember the first time
We wished upon parallel lines
Waiting for a friend to call
And say they're still alive
- X Meets Y: