Rockin' Our Turntable: fun.
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 19, 2012 3:00PM
We've wrestled with the new fun. for quite a while now. We loved their debut, and we're admittedly in the bag for singer Nate Ruess' previous band The Format. So we had huge expectations for the sophomore effort Some Nights. Next thing we know the band's teaming up with live powerhouse but studio enigma Janealle Monae, employing autotune and (WHAT?!) partnering with GLEE to debut a single.
And then Some Nights dropped through our mail slot. And it's a weird album. Parts of it seem like they're pandering, adopting studio tricks of ten minutes ago, and little glitches and splotches pop up. There's enough to make us doubt the band's intentions--and while we don't want to wade into the "authentic or not" conversation, there's enough on the surface to raise grave doubts about fun.'s intentions. And then we let loose and did what we should have done from the get-go.
Some Nights should be viewed as a complete singular work. Only then do you notice the themes running throughout. Only then do you realize this isn't an album of singles as much as it is the return to the song cycles that harken back to the '70s (and admittedly Ruess' musically formative years). The studio trickery is there because it fits the song, not because the band's trying to strictly adhere to an aural aesthetic.
And then, THEN, it hits you in the chest; fun. isn't trying to dominate the charts through trickery. No, they're deploying old school tactics like writing really solid songs and then being unafraid to adorn them with the sonic glitches of their time not so much in an attempt to date them as to add the thrust of the moment into a single beat. What sounded somehow plastic to us upon first listen has now revealed itself as an honest attempt by the band to reach beyond itself. You might not remember the '80s but we do, and that decade was festooned by bands embracing the technology of now and the ones that got it right produced music both of and beyond their time. We suspect that 's the horizon fun. has their sight sets firmly upon. And damned if they aren't making progress.
fun. plays at The Vic on April 14.