So what's the deal, Trailer? The deal is: fun. is catchy as hell. Their music is huge, epic-sounding, and full of ridiculously sharp hooks. The singer, Nate Ruess, sounds like the pop radio version of Freddie Mercury, full of Broadway musical rock bluster. Even those positives should sound like negatives to a hard-ass country fan who prefers to hear whiskey in a voice over whiskey in a lyric, but somehow it works.
There are plenty of bands with catchy songs and good singers out there. Why does fun. rise above the crowd? Aside from the fact that I genuinely enjoy their sound, it's the songwriting. The lyrics aren't exactly your typical pop fare. Here are a few lines of the last Black Eyed Peas single:
"You could call me crazy man,
Everyday I'm partying,
You could find me at the club,
Popping bottles, mingling'"
And here are lyrics from fun.'s current single, "Some Nights":
"My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she calls "love"
But when I look into my nephew's eyes...
Man, you wouldn't believe the most amazing things that can come from...
Some terrible lies"
Sure, pop is supposed to be disposable and dumb like The Black Eyed Peas, but then, that's why I don't like 99% of pop music. I need something beyond a sugary hook or bouncy baseline to keep me coming back. fun. provides depth along with the absurdly earwormy melodies.
Their first major hit, "We Are Young," hit on drug abuse, rebellion and domestic violence. I'm betting 90% of the people who bought the song on iTunes had no idea it was that deep of a song. And why should they? fun. makes music for everybody: the casual listener who just likes something to sing along to, and the true music fan who wants some meat on the bones.
In fact, the entire album Some Nights carries that same vibe. While the tempos change, the "spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down" approach never does. Nearly every song on the album is an intelligent pop gem.
The previous album, Aim and Ignite, is also a damn good record. fun. is a band that deserves to be mentioned with the likes of Wilco and The Shins rather than The Black Eyed Peas and Maroon 5.
I guess I've made a strong enough argument that I don't feel that guilty after all. If you have any predisposition toward pop-rock or very commercial indie-pop, you should give fun. a chance. Some Nights is definitely one of my top 20 albums of the year thus far.