Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Review: Fun. - Some Nights
Seriously, right from the album's intro track the group are trying to make their own Bohemian Rhapsody. From it's haunting piano opening and bitter vocal performance of frontman Nate Ruess, there's just a bizarre buildup into total operatic madness. And this melodramatic tone is prominent throughout the album. It's seen in the melancholic performances of Carry On and All Alright which all go on to build up into a more flourishing full-on performance exploding with crashes of drum beats and pulsing synthesizers and even the odd guitar solo, packed with Brian May influences of course.
The album's packed with several moments like this that while the Queen influence is cool, ultimately comes off as Queen lite. Sounds like when Queen planned to play at Sonisphere with Adam Lambert. One of the reasons the festival was cancelled.
To be fair there is more than this and Fun. manage to delve into many poppier influences and ultimately if you're position as a fan that enjoys your music always riff-driven, just look away now. The trio's ability to create massive poppy hooks is a massive credential that gives them success on this album. The massive sing-along, clap-along performance of We Are Young is packed with all kinds of stadium rock cliches. The chant-along chorus, the pounding melodies, even a big "Na-Na-Na" section so all the drunk audience members can mindlessly sing along. (They're at T in the Park so there's every chance I'll find myself in this position, while probably missing Band of Skulls or something)
The pop influence is massive everywhere else. The synth-pop backdrops of All Alone and One Foot mixed with Ruess' immense energy put into his vocals give the song a freshness that is lacking in most mainstream pop music, while simultaneously sounding like most mainstream pop music. Surprisingly, this is quite tolerable for someone with a music taste like mine. The only real downside to these poppy moments in in Ruess' continuous use of auto-tuning and vocoder effects throughout the album. The album's closer Stars is actually quite epic but is ruined by these digitized vocals which seem to last forever and become excruciatingly painful to have to put up with.
Well, if this is what the world of chart music is accepting as a rock band, I suppose it serves as further evidence to the favourite argument of all the music enthusiasts I know that mainstream music is becoming to sugared up and watered down to reach wider audiences who have no real danger in their music taste. While the performances are energetic and there is a lot of quite dynamic moments. There's little outside of We Are Young to truly keep listeners constantly engaged and one of the truly notable factors is the use of autotuned vocals, which I do for the most part despise. No, the world of chart music can keep Fun. and I can go on and look like I hate pop music just because it's popular. Great.
Fun.'s Some Nights is out now via Fueled By Ramen. The band will play at T in the Park 2012 at Balado Airfield, Kinross on 8th July and will tour the UK in October with Walk the Moon.