I'm just gonna say right now that I'm a huge fan of The Format and fun. I could go on and on about how easily I can gush over either band. Aim & Ignite was one of my favorite albums in years. I became overly excited and anxious anticipating Some Nights. I was interested in seeing how a hip-hop influenced album from a band like fun. could turn out, but did it live up to my expectations?
The album opens with the "Some Nights (Intro)." Right off the bat, I'm getting increasingly more giddy for the rest of the album mostly because this song reminds me of "Matches" off of The Format's, Dog Problems. It serves as an overture and leads into "Some Nights," which is quickly becoming one of my favorite fun. tracks. It's something fresh and different while still maintaining the band's identity. However, I do have a bone to pick with it: the auto-tune. If there is one vocalist I know that doesn't need auto-tune, it's Nate Ruess. That's not to say I'm completely against auto-tune. I was in the minority who agreed with its usage on 808s & Heartbreaks. The problem is that it's use in "Some Nights" comes off almost comical and dare I say embarrassing.
The track's followed by their hit single, "We Are Young." One of the best song's on the album and one of the best fun. have given us. Janelle Monae's contribution only makes the song that much better. Ironically a song that boasts about being young was a more mature direction for the band. They get a bit more intimate with "Carry On." Guitarist, Jack Antonff, gets his moment with a solo in the bridge. If there's one thing I love about Antonoff's work, it's that his guitar tone is reminiscent of Brian May's. I hope he has no intention of changing it anytime soon. They pick up the pace on "It Gets Better." This is the type of song I should love, but it just falls flat for me. I can't pinpoint why. Perhaps it's because it doesn't feel like it fits with the rest of the album. "It Gets Better" sounds like it could have fit on an album that came between Aim & Ignite and Some Nights. It could also be the programmed drums that get me. The track's undoubtedly catchy and bound to be an exciting track live, but I think it'll take some time to fully appreciate it.
One of the strongest tracks on Some Nights is "Why Am I the One?" It contains some of Ruess' smoothest vocal performances on the album. Pianist, Andrew Dost, chimes in and out with his beautiful playing. "All Alone" captures the fun. sound with the hip-hop influence perfectly and more in line with what I was expecting. Easily one of the better productions on the album. I'd say Jeff Bhasker's addition emanates most during "All Alright." It has that full sound that a fun. song needs. The violin bellows at the end are angelic and reminiscent of the ones found at the end of Kanye West's, "Robocop."
Much like "All Alone, "the track, "One Foot," captures that hip-hop and fun. fusion perfectly. Better than any other track on the album. The first time I heard it, I was a little turned off. Every now and then, I would catch myself humming and singing it though. Somehow, it was infectious after only one listen. The only unnecessary moment in the track is towards the end where the beat drops only to come back in a different key. I'm still kind of scratching my head over that one. Fun. close the album with "Stars." I'm struggling with this closer. It's not as memorable as "Take Your Time," or even as much as the rest of the album. That doesn't make it an uninteresting track. Its got a taste of R&B and utilizes the auto-tune tool much better than in "Some Nights"--albeit a little too much. The bonus track, "Out on the Town," would have made a better closer (it practically is anyway). It's a little more straightforward, but it has a better "closer" feel to it than "Stars." I'll admit though--I'm a little biased because it sounds more like an Interventions & Lullabies Format song.
I applaud fun. for taking their chance with this album. Although they're no strangers to ambition, this was a new direction that they pulled off. It's hard to compare to their debut as they're two completely different albums that can appeal to two different audiences. Despite a couple gripes, Some Nights was a pleasure to listen to and is gonna be one of the better albums I hear this year. I welcome whatever water they plan to tread next. This band can only get bigger and they certainly deserve to.
8.7 / 10
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