Single Review: fun. – ‘Some Nights’

“A 200mph stomp-athon”

5 STARS

Digital Release: June 4, 2012

Physical Release: June 24, 2012

Before we begin, it’s important to recognise that, since the hiatus of The Format (lead singer of fun. Nate Ruess’ previous project) and from the formation of “fun.”, a lot of the minor rock and roll influences that coloured in The Format’s more impressive musical outings aren’t going to be found here on ’Some Nights’ – or anywhere on the corresponding album (of which, the new single is the title track). This song, and the rest of fun.’s entire catalogue doesn’t really have a definitive genre and boasts none of the rock magnificence The Format had – not even the oddly familiar harmonies redolent of Queen can rationally be considered “rock” anymore. Whilst not categorically a bad thing, the play-school melodies do rather make fun. seem like Disney’s answer to Arcade Fire. However, something – the same ineffably hypnotic quality of ‘We Are Young’ – is evident here, making ‘Some Nights’ quite a straightforwardly ‘good’ song (whilst evading the trap that rendered ’We Are Young’ stale and sterile after a single listen). ‘Some Nights’ manages to throw pop/rock, power-pop and a backing choir into the mix and produce an unashamed pop blast; past pop acts would – and have, if you look to any of the countless pop flops who dared punch above their weight – buckle under the strain of carrying so many influences. But where similarly genre-less acts like OneRepublic, Jessie J and Mika clumsily let slip from their hands much of the greatness passed down to them from their influences, fun. have taken what little they need and multiplied it by their own distinctive brand of pop to masterfully facilitate – if a little too enthusiastically to those who cower from mainstream pop that doesn’t have any synths – a sound that stands to immediate attention with all the typical awkward effrontery fun. are known for, but on ‘Some Nights’ it feels like the slapdash kitchen sinkery may have been channelled… whisper it now… absolutely perfectly (which is more than can be said for a lot of the rest of their work).

So it’s a good thing Nate Ruess has one hell of a voice. If it wasn’t obvious from ‘We Are Young’, a song which not-so-silently prided itself in being able to stop listeners dead in their tracks even on the first listen, then new single ‘Some Nights’ confirms his ability to wail like a banshee and still be able to form a distinctly recognisable melody. And unlike previous hit ‘We Are Young’, a patient yet stratospherically anthemic song whose chiming sing-along chorus alleviated much of the deliberate alcoholic self-destruction that lives on here, ‘Some Nights’ is more of a 200mph stomp-athon that gives the impression the three momentary rests were strategically placed so that Ruess could catch his breath. While ‘We Are Young’ was modestly paced, listening to ‘Some Nights’ sees listeners bombasted by a stampede of drums at breakneck speed, powering from chorus to chorus and barely giving any time to rest. And with each word imbued with a strong sense of importance and delivered with impending urgency, Ruess takes listeners on one of his more angsty, paranoia-driven drunken rants but manages to stop himself disappearing into a nondescript pop vacuum with strong boozy undercurrents of self-deprecation – “Some nights I wish that this all would end/‘Cause I could use some friends for a change”, he declares over a myriad of tempestuous drums, furious guitars and pounding piano accompaniment. Each component of the song is given enough individual consideration that they marry together seamlessly to form a suitably, if a little contrived, refractory ebullience; a virile energy that finds itself exploding into a climaxing vortex of sound and then retreating, only to re-adjust itself and explode more spectacularly than before.

 

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