Album Reviews

Album Review: fun. – Some Nights

on February 22, 2012, 7:57am
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Trading in clever, orchestrated pop rock for hollow, overproduced stadium romps, fun. swing big and miss the point almost entirely on Some Nights, their second LP and first with Fueled By Ramen.

I’m not sure if the fault lies with the record label change or the hype overabundance that followed their moderately inventive debut, but the band’s pleasant Aim And Ignite from 2009 had a naivety and playfulness similar to Born Ruffian’s Red, Yellow & Blue from the prior year. This time around, the New York-based trio has taken their sound for a nosedive straight into the same bubblegum ocean where Coldplay’s recent misstep swims, but where Chris Martin and fellow non-rockers mostly succeeded in risky joyous bombast, Nate Ruess, Jack Antonoff, and Andrew Dost now put forth mediocrity so vainly sterile, the most daring things going for them are their album cover and their one-liner band name.

Although proving to be intricate and provocative, the deceiving “Some Nights” and its intro are cabaret rip-offs of both Queen and fun.’s own upbeat “Benson Hedges” – and then comes the auto-tuning. “We Are Young”, a grating pop-romp, is replete with Ruess’ continual nods to burning bright, decisive nights, and not being old. While the band shows ingenuity in “Carry On” with what sounds like accordions and acoustic guitar flutters, almost every song on Some Nights contains the same unimaginative stomp-stomp-clap beat and soulless horn bits. The spacey violin sound collage at the end of “Why Am I The One” is an impressive moment and should have been urgently fleshed out, but the Andrew WK-lite “It Gets Better” and “All Alright” – featuring a banal children’s choir refrain – drown the album. At one point during “All Alone”, I wasn’t even sure if I had switched to Radio Disney by mistake.

By the time “One Foot” and “Stars” come around, you’re scrambling to find your wits to care about the guitar solo blunders and auto-tuned acrobatics, let alone understanding what Ruess is even singing about. Skimming the top, fun. gets credit for its positive attitude and pocket full of catchy melodies, but on the whole, Some Nights remains forgettable.

Essential Tracks: N/A

80 comments

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Gunsnro857
February 22, 2012 at 9:27 am

You got to be kidding me with this review.  You obviously have no soul.  This album is excellent and a great addition to the Format and fun. catalog. 

Krick
February 22, 2012 at 11:09 am

 I have to agree with Guns.  I love this album.  I totally disagree with David Dillilo.  He obviously has no taste.

LoRen H
February 22, 2012 at 9:44 am

everyone’s a critic. lighten up and have some * fun.*  … LOL

LoRen

morgan
February 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

i completely agree. this album is utterly disappointing and a huge let down. carry on and why am i the one were the only songs that partially lived up to my expectations.

Pete
February 22, 2012 at 11:31 am

I feel like a listener’s expectations play a big part in how he/she receives an album. For those who enjoyed the catchy yet unassuming qualities of Aim and Ignite, this LP may be a bit too anthemic or over-the-top. That being said, I still think it’s a quality listen. Giving the album one star or calling it “insanely forgettable” seems a bit harsh.

Scooched
February 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

Can’t agree with this review at all.  After listening to a few songs online I am totally going to buy this album.

sheila
February 22, 2012 at 11:44 am

one star hahaha you must be old. btw. it’s not auto-tuning. it’s the use of a vocoder, which is an artistic choice on the behalf of nate, and it works wonderfully. also, “mediocrity so vainly sterile”? are you kidding me?

Billy M.
February 24, 2012 at 2:56 am

That’s artistic? hmm I guess anything passes as art now a days.

Smw9211
March 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm

 Imogen Heap, Bon Iver… I’d say they are artistic.

Adubs
February 29, 2012 at 8:21 am

thank the lord someone pointed out that it’s a vocoder not bloody autotune!

Dickbird
February 22, 2012 at 11:46 am

 to each his own. this record is great, and you probably skipped over whole “nate ruess writes incredible lyrics” portion of the album.

Hc11bmd
February 22, 2012 at 11:48 am

David Dillio is a dillhole

Neal
February 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Abysmal review.  If you need to misuse this many adverbs, you’re a rank amateur: “vainly”, “urgently”, “banally”, “stubbornly, “snidely”, “insanely”.  OK, you hate the album, but learn to write a coherent critique.  ”Insanely forgettable” doesn’t even make sense.

Joel
February 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Snidely catchy? Do you know what snide means? Who even cares if the song title is original? Vainly sterile???? So many dumb things in this review. Its not bad because I disagree but because it’s a bad review.

Jason Tate
February 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Well, that’s just an awful review.

mark
February 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm

WOW. Looks like FUN. should have made more disco crap that you’d probably like. Shame on FUN. for growing in a different direction than what you expected. Time for you to listen to LFMAO……

Stan Darsh
February 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I agree with this review. This album was a total aboration compared to the last one.

mark
February 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm

You have no taste in original music. Time for you to listen to the disco crud out there that’s probably more to your liking…….Time to embrace new, unique, and talented FUN.

mark
February 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Bad review. FUN. is talented, original, feeling, and unique. It’s sad you are looking for more disco crud ( think Party songs) and other trashy remix garbage to wreck the airwaves. Most people are appreciative of a bands efforts to be new sounding.Sad is the state of music if this SOME NIGHTS album doesn’t grab you.

nic
February 22, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I would disagree. There are some great tracks on here that surpass “disney radio”. How about the bonus track, “Out On the Town”? And “Carry On” is going to be a huge radio track if they release it as a single. Nothing wrong with being radio friendly and catchy. People like songs they can singalong too. Nothing wrong with that. 

Skee
February 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I love fun. but i agree, this album is garbage.  Love all the Format’s material and adore Aim and Ignite, but this record completely misses the mark.  Won’t stop me from seeing the live though

Ruido
February 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I agree. All the songs sound the same in this album, especially when compared to Aim and Ignite. There doesn’t seem to be any drastic changes in tempo or tone the whole album, aside from the interesting tribal like beat of Some Nights. I really agree with the Disney comparison, since one of the songs had me thinking I had some how magically started listening to Simple Plan.

This could really have been saved by something that randomly changes things up, sort of like how the Gambler throw’s you completely off. It doesn’t sound like they were trying as much as the first.

Jake
February 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Awful review. You swung big and missed

Billy M.
February 24, 2012 at 2:55 am

Did you become a fan of fun. after glee or something? How can you listen to Aim and Ignite then listen to some nights and say some nights is good. Doesn’t even sound like fun.

Sometimes the internet sucks
March 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm

It’s just a different sound. It is fun., therefore, it sounds like fun. Different isn’t automatically worse.

Anonymous
March 8, 2012 at 12:52 am

No, you’re clearly wrong. When a band changes their sound even a little bit, they automatically suck regardless of the outcome. This is infinitely more true if a band becomes successful as a result because they obviously only changed their sound to sell out and / or be more mainstream. 

Smw9211
March 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm

 That’s the most narrow-minded thing I’ve read on this page.  Congrats.

jonny
September 2, 2012 at 10:28 am

Seriously? You really missed that he was being sarcastic? I hope you’re joking.

Anonymous
February 22, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I think, all-in-all, it’s a very reasonable album… The huge, showy production value Nate seems so fond of, does become a bit muddled with the new ‘electronica’ vibe once in a while and that ends up awkward. But the lyrics are just fantastic, and the high energy, hugely melodic, bubblegum-poet fun that makes them… well fun., is still in full effect. Maybe you should give it another listen… I can see how it maybe be people’s least fav. fun. release, but one star and N/A Essential Tracks is definitely not an apt assessment of the situation.

Jon
February 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Wow — awful review.

Ryan Ballard
February 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm

I really disagree with this review. fun. wrote an album that has a good balance of straightforward and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. The sound is original and catchy with noticeable influences- most obviously, Queen. 4/5 stars for me.

Landon
February 23, 2012 at 11:33 am

This Album Rocks.  I don’t even like this kind of stuff but I bought 5 concert tickets.  They sound like Queen and One Republic mixed together.  I do not agree with this review.  One star out of 5 sounds like Davie is grandstanding.  It was number one on Itunes when I last checked.  Review that.

François
February 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I disagree with this review, in its entirely. 

underwhelmed
February 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm

there are three things i especially loved about the format and, to a lesser extent, fun’s first album: nate ruess’s voice, his lyrics, and his inventive orchestration. the former two are totally lacking in this album, what with the heavy autotune and repetitive and mostly vapid lyrics, and although the orchestration is still creative and interesting, i’ve come to expect much more.

cdhrom
February 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I would have maybe given it two stars, but it’s still not that good. I find their music doesn’t grow up with their existing fan base. Fun (and the Format, to an extent) has this problem in that their followers love them so much that they will think any release is a good one. The music is colorful and vibrant…but it’s all too much. They lay on the optimism and horn accents too thickly. Children’s choir, gospel choir, the applause on the intro, the vocoder…it’s just too much; it’s cheesy. And all Nate does is sing about himself and his family, which has gotten old.

I do like “Some Nights” despite the autotune portion. Kind of like Vampire Weekend’s “California English,” I didn’t mind it being there. The opening of that song is good and they should have cut the “Intro” altogether. “We Are Young” drags. That chorus falls SO flat. Plus Janelle Monae is way better than that song allows her to be (“Cold War,” “Tightrope,” anyone?). I liked “Carry On,” no complaints. His voice sounds great during the part about “cheating it all.” “It Gets Better” is comically bad. I’m sorry, it’s a total flop. “Why Am I the One” is the best track on the album – and you know why? It doesn’t go for too much, it’s simple, catchy, happy/sad, and everything you loved Nate for pre-2009. Also I totally agree with the reviewer, the little string bit at the end is a nice, pretty touch. “All Alone” is just ok. “All Alright” was bad. “One Foot” is middle of the pack. “Stars” is overindulgent, though I did like how they cleverly brought back and included the pretty string melody from the end of “Why Am I the One” in parts of the song (did anyone else catch that?).

I don’t know…I feel like if they just exercised a little restraint and got off of Fueled By Ramen (bad label branded for teens), they could really tighten things up and shine. Jack’s guitar skillz are under-utilized (see Steel Train live). But I suppose commercially, they’re not making bad moves. That’s all.

Anonymous
February 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I don’t know anything about their fanbase or how devoted they are, but I like the first fun. record and I like this one too.  I agree that the production is too sterile and that they go way overboard with the vocal processing.  But still, whatever.  I like sing-along pop songs, and these are fairly smart ones with catchy choruses.  I suppose the review’s ‘Radio Disney’ jab is meant to be an insult, if you consider “having a good time and singing along loudly in the car” something folks should be ashamed of.  But c’mon, the themes and lyrics aren’t childish, and frankly, all of the elements here are highly praised when someone like Robyn uses them.  

StJimmy
February 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm

2nd worst review I’ve read of this album. At least you wrote more than two sentences about your crappy opinion.

lolwut
February 24, 2012 at 8:19 am

“StJimmy”…is that a modern Green Day reference? if so…

TASTE IN MUSIC:      *
OPINION VALIDITY:   *
PUNK ROCKNESS:    *****

at least you have one thing going for you.

civilflight
February 25, 2012 at 12:15 am

Why dont you just come out and say it… “I’m a music snob and an ass.”  Just because I know you are doesn’t mean you should leave others guessing.

kiteline
February 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm

h8u2, civilflight. i might be an ass, but i’m not a music snob. music snobs don’t listen to the format, steel train, or fun. however, after listening to this album, i’m starting to understand that more. dogproblems4life.

Noah D Wood
February 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm

http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=2639702

kiteline
February 24, 2012 at 8:25 am

take that with a grain of salt. AP reviews pretty much everything above 75-80% and…it’s Absolute Punk. they gave The Format’s Dog Problems a 95% as well, and that album was at least 95% better than this one, all things considered.

Anmweber
February 23, 2012 at 11:14 pm

This is a really awful review. Some people are just haters. 

Billy M.
February 24, 2012 at 2:51 am

No some people are just fanboys. Some nights is not fun. fun. songs are orchestral, melodic, beautiful. I don’t even know how to explain this pile. 

Anonymous
March 8, 2012 at 12:55 am

So….because you don’t like this album, it’s clearly not an actual fun. album but some sort of horrible “pile” of something you can’t explain? Good point, that does make sense. 

Guest
February 24, 2012 at 5:17 am

So basically, “It’s not Aim and Ignite II. Therefore, it sucks.” Way to be oblivious to a new sound from the same band. This is an awful review. While I agree that the autotune is slightly annoying, that’s pretty much my only complaint from the album.

Brian
February 24, 2012 at 10:38 am

So a song starts a cappella, and it’s a rip off of “Benson Hedges”?

Oliver
February 25, 2012 at 1:53 am

I appreciate the honest review. Their song “We Are Young” introduced me to the band, and I’m glad that I’ve found their older works. I found this review linked to from Wikipedia, and was curious as to the low score, but I am not disappointed. The review is just and true.

David DiLillo
February 25, 2012 at 11:31 am

I made one mistake. I should have said, “‘Some Nights’ is insanely forgettable, but unfortunately it won’t be forgotten.”

Malkin2
February 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm

wow dude you’re just fucking brutal eh? I think you need to “urgently flesh out” why everyone commenting thinks this review is stupid as shit. 

Borachon
March 3, 2012 at 7:22 am

 How petty.

Will…
February 25, 2012 at 9:20 pm

This is clearly one of those reviews where the gentleman wants to avoid being apart of some bandwagon.

Sorry David, but some wagons are worth riding on.

ben
February 26, 2012 at 12:31 am

Just the fact that you credit them for a positive attitude shows your shallow investment into this album. The album actually takes a very sarcastically positive tone, the message in most tracks is quite hopeless. As for their sound, they are taking pieces of many different genres and sub genres- Just because they take vocal cues from bands like queen does not mean they are unoriginal! They are smart.  ALSO, why would we want a repeat of their last album? Why wouldn’t we want this band to evolve, to change to explore new possibilities within their ability? STOP BEING NARROW-MINDED.

Cody
February 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm

One star… Did this band collectively fuck your little sister or something… this seems like a personal grudge or vendetta against this band… I think the last Korn album got a higher review. 44 Comments saying otherwise should at least make you relisten to the album. 

Chris
February 27, 2012 at 8:01 am

“And then comes the autotuning”. And then nothing. Not even an opinion, nothing. An awful, bias and stupidly negative review. Filled with unnecessary metaphors and internet ”critic” bullshit, it just begs the question whether you heard the album or just hate the band.

John
February 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Couldn’t agree more with this review. This album is a complete mess. I didn’t realize an album could try so many things (from Broadway-style vocal trills to weird synth meanderings to Auto Tune nonsense) and still have every song sound annoyingly the same. The shreiked choruses, the stomp-clap beats referenced above and the cheesy lyrical platitudes give this thing one star from me as well. As a big Format fan, and a fan of Nate’s vocal from the jump, I expected more.  

Nick
February 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm

With all due respect, if I wanted to read ridiculous reviews like this, I’d go over to Pitchfork.

For anyone who wants to check out a couple songs, I would say All Alright, Carry On, and Out Some Nights are my favourites. Personally, I can listen to the entire album front to back without wanting to skip a song. Out On The Town, which is a bonus track, is another favourite of mine.

Just my opinion though.

Sergean2
February 29, 2012 at 9:40 am

First off, let knock off the Queen references, the band you are looking for is Electric Light Orchestra, not Queen.  Listen to Evil Woman or Strange Magic from ELO.

Second, I agree with this review.  I’m not a hater (why is it that is the first place people go?), I rank Aim and Ignite as one of the best albums I own.  The tracks do not fit a formula and every one stands on it’s own as a solid tune.  The lyrics on Aim and Ignite are meaningful at times and light at others.  I am still asking the question of how someone as  Reuss can write a tune like The Gambler.  

This album lacks all of the above.  Every track is trying too hard to be a defiant call to the youth before they get old and in turn it gets old.  What they are calling for is unclear, just have fun and enjoy life?  That message applies for everybody and not exclusive to the young.  The stories and characters are missing from this album and so I have to agree.  Skip it.

Brian May
March 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

Members of fun. themselves have mentioned the Queen influence.

Meeenotyou
March 1, 2012 at 3:03 am

I like this album.  Give Some Nights three years like Aim and Ignite and you’ll probably dig it too. Take a moment and get familiar with the album.  It’s not a sophomore slump… Nate’s put out enough albums to know what he’s doing.

donnie
March 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Aim and ignite had soul. had meaning. had reason. some nights just doesn’t sound sincere (which was what ruess is best at).

SAJ
March 2, 2012 at 1:12 am

“Then comes the auto-tuning.” That establishes that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Knocking any music today for tuned vocals is foolish. Aim and Ignite also has tuned vocals, as does pretty much everything that’s come out the last 10 years. They do it more blatantly on this album, which is almost more respectable because it essentially admits its use rather than hiding it with Melodyne like the albums you seemingly hear and don’t realize are tuned. Calling an album out for tuned vocals in today’s day and age without recognizing that mostly everything recorded today — pop, indie or otherwise — has tuned vocals is a surefire way to establish little expertise on today’s music. 

Goochtron
February 25, 2013 at 1:17 am

WRONG, an auto-tuner can be used to create the effect Nate uses. That establishes that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Anonymous
March 4, 2012 at 10:05 am

My favorite part of this review were the comments.

karp
March 6, 2012 at 9:21 am

Give it time. Let it sink in. fun. may have set the bar way fucking high with their first album but give it time and I’m sure you’ll love this too.

Guest
March 7, 2012 at 4:38 am

First listen through the album I would have agreed with this review and every negative comment made thus far, but then i listened to it again… and again… and again… and finally concluded it is bloody brilliant! It is very different and takes a bit of getting used to but once you listen to it a few times through it will blow your mind. 

Anonymous
March 8, 2012 at 12:42 am

Radio Disney, good one. 

Anonymous
March 8, 2012 at 12:50 am

“I wasn’t even sure if I had switched to Radio Disney by mistake.” Hilarious…but seriously, if you’re going to bash / criticize / mock something at least go about it in a clever manner. 

Stephen O’Toole
March 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Totally agree!
Blatantly not as good as Aim and Ignite was but still a decent album. It’s ‘good’ but not ‘great’. 
Aim and Ignite was simply more clever, had more arrangements and bigger, smarter bridges that could take the songs anywhere. 
This doesn’t have nearly the same impact and it’s really a shame that the only song from fun. getting any credit is We Are Young because, well it’s pretty bland and the chorus is woeful by Ruess standards.

LAFP
April 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm

This website always has bad reviews. I hardly ever agree with them. This album is amazing. I’m not a huge fan, but the record is very well put together musically and lyrically. I would give it a 4/5.

Stephen O’Toole
April 25, 2012 at 10:28 am

Yeah but that’s the problem. :P The vocal effect sounds worse than it does without it. They should keep the experimenting out of the finished product because really, most of the experimenting done on Some Nights is a failure. 

Khmer Stooge
April 28, 2012 at 11:27 am

An album can’t miss its own point.

Even if you genuinely didn’t like this, your writing is trying so hard to sound blasé that it comes across as contrived. You can amost tell the reviewer’s age and wardrobe just by his writing.That summation of “We are Young” is ridiculous. You’ve obviously stalled on clever things to say, you just rely on snidely summing up the song as if that in itself is an insult.I just just going to write that first line, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a silly, ham-fisted review this is.

lauzabelle
May 24, 2012 at 10:49 am

Can no one be constructive with reviews, i know everyone is entitled to their opinion (mine is complete opposit to this as i love the album) but can you be positive in your critique and not just an ass???

AL
May 24, 2012 at 11:56 am

you obviously have no idea what your on about. Everyone knows Nate can sing and doesn’t need auto tune. The group uses a vocoder which is entirely different to auto tune, It creates the effect whereas auto tune fixes pitches! if you don’t like the effect then thats fine but stop banging on about auto tune! Try and be constructive with your criticisms rather than just trying to get cheap laughs! 

Goochtron
February 25, 2013 at 1:16 am

No, actually, an auto-tuner CAN be used to create the effect that Nate uses. I personally found it to be obnoxious and to completely destroy the mood of the song.

Jess
June 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I don’t think you appreciate the actual meanings behind these songs, and that’s a shame.  It’s probably why I don’t bother with one-off reviews.   I take it you’d pan a Radiohead album, too, right?

doctorateofbacon
June 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm

There seem to be a lot of haters on this board but seriously. What a fucking terrible album. It’s the same tired song over and over and over. If you’re cool with listening to that good for you but I wish this shit would stop being played on the radio.

WOWO
July 18, 2012 at 2:20 am

the similarities between Nate and Freddie is ridiculous… just listen to it (go to youtube)

/watch?v=QLwjFn622TY

(im not advertising ’cause i just saw the video, i just want the critics to be able to hear it)

Tom
July 28, 2012 at 1:39 am

Why is everyone so pissed with this review? I loved fun.’s first album but this one, not so much, and definitely agree that the Autotune is overused. Everyone who just wrote a death threat to this dude needs to go and listen to the first track of Aim & Ignite and absorb it’s message.

nightshift151
August 2, 2012 at 11:28 pm

I really like this band and this album. One star? WTF?