THE CHANGE IN SOUND
Casey Whitman: So, the new fun. album has gotten some mixed opinions. The album definitely has a new sound than the old one, especially from the instrumental and production standpoint. At least that's my opinion. What do you think?
Blair Chopin: People always give bands a tough time when they change a successful sound. Kid A was just noise but two years later was a classic album, The Age of Adz was "stupid" but now it is stupid enough to define a generation, and Sgt. Pepper's was hippie garbage but now most people think it is the greatest album of all time. So people just take time to adjust to sounds, especially when a band is changing from a successful sound. No one is arguing that Aim and Ignite was a classic album. People need to realize that this album is Magic Johnson playing center and not Michael Jordan playing baseball. It might be different, but it is still just as good and if not better as the old version of fun. The album is basically a modern Aim and Ignite, and that means that fun. is probably going to be one of the biggest bands in the world. And we need more bands with the talent of fun. in the mainstream.
Casey Whitman: But there's so many people that will also oppose that. Just the fact that "We Are Young" is getting on Super Bowl commercials and radio play is enough to incite pitchforks coming out of garages. I don't see why that's a bad thing at all? Nate Ruess has been in amazing bands for ten years now, so why should our selfish thoughts hold him back?
Blair Chopin: It is just a culture we have created. We write about muzik and we actually care about it so we think the bands that we love should just be our bands. That is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. If the same kids who like the Lady Gaga like fun. then let them like fun. We should encourage and push more bands like fun. into the mainstream just so mainstream music can get better. I mean hearing nine year old kids with Lil Wayne shirts sing "Pumped Up Kicks" was annoying but at least we knew that Foster The People were a good band. Every band is always going to have fans that say they "sold out!" Who cares. The best music should be the music that is on the radio. If more fun. gets on the radio that is a big step towards that happening
Casey Whitman: It makes sense. But really, is "We Are Young" even the best track for fun. to blow up with? Is the band even going to be heard again on mainstream radio other than this song? I for one thing think that the title track could easily dominate radio play. It has the groove of what the perfect Olympics song could be. Or maybe even the crazy horns of "One Foot".
Blair Chopin: Well I really think a ton of songs off this album could dominate the radio and they are still damn good songs. I mean "We Are Young" is a modern version of "All The Pretty Girls," which means it is not only damn catchy but also means it is damn groovy, "Some Nights" is the perfect summer song, "One Foot" summarizes modern thought and sound very well,"It Gets Better" could gain a ton of momentum, and "Stars" is the best song on the album. The album is filled with tons of songs that will at least get played on MuzikDizcovery Radio.
Casey Whitman: You mentioned "It Gets Better". Now, I know this topic has been beaten to death by now, but the VOCODER. Nate Ruess, autotuning his vocals? Why did it have to end this way? Why did he have to damage his heavenly vocals with this?
Well, I actually enjoy it. He's not using it as a crutch, but as an effect, and it goes very well.
Blair Chopin: The folks need to realize that this is a total modernization of Aim and Ignite. And what is more modern then autotuning? Nate still does an awesome job singing and has just as many "wow" moments as he did on Aim and Ignite. The autotuning actually makes some of the songs better and never really hurts any of the songs. I like it.
Casey Whitman: But is modernization actually the best way to improve a sound? I mean, some of the songs sound almost old fashioned as well. "Some Nights Intro" sounds pretty much like Queen, which kind of goes against your feeling of "modernization."
Blair Chopin: I'm not saying that it is improving the sound but it is an expansion of the previous sound. I still think Aim and Ignite is a better album than this and not a lot of people are going to argue that. It seemed like Aim and Ignite was just a beautiful tribute album to Queen and the Beach Boys though. This album keeps those influences in spots, but it sounds like a fun. album instead. Now the "Some Nights (Intro)" might sound exactly like Queen, but it is still a sped up version of "Be Calm." This pattern repeats itself throughout the album. "Some Nights" is "Benson Hedges" with more of a dance feel, "It Gets Better" is an auto tuned "At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used To Be,") "Carry On" is "I Wanna Be The One with a bigger choruses, "Stars" is "Take Your Time" with a bit more self reflection, and "All Alright" Is a bigger version of "The Gambler." It is still an excellent modernization of a classic album.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR?
Casey Whitman: This album really seems to be a front runner for the rest of the year. Do you see it remaining up in the front of end of year lists by December?
Blair Chopin: It is going to be really tough to beat. The National will put out a National album ( a perfectly crafted album with about five really good songs) but will it have the importance of this record? I don't know. Frightened Rabbit will come out with a Frightened Rabbit album (a overemotional album that you fall in love with) but will it be as consitent as this album? I don't know. It is going to be the first time in a while we have had a band with this good of a reputation getting consistent play on the radio. I mean when is the last time a band that has arguably already put out two classic albums (counting The Format) put out an album like this? Do we have to go back to the Beatles, Queen, or the Beach Boys? Well then I guess fun. have finally paid homage to those bands in ways that they didn't even think were possible.
Come back next week when me and Casey discuss the best Ron Swanson moments.
Stream Some Nights on fun.'s website here.