Album Reviews

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

81 comments

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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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.  

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.

François
February 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I disagree with this review, in its entirely. 

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.

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.

Jon
February 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Wow — awful review.

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.

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.

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.

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

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. 

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.

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.

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 2:27 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……

Jason Tate
February 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Well, that’s just an awful review.

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.

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.

Hc11bmd
February 22, 2012 at 11:48 am

David Dillio is a dillhole

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

LoRen H
February 22, 2012 at 9:44 am

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

LoRen

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.

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