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Music review: Fun.’s talents muffled by over-production

Allison Lavelle
LV Life Editor

Supported by driving percussion, clever lyrics and striking piano, Fun.’s “Some Nights” is a clear evolution in the band’s musical style.

The indie pop band, comprised of Nate Ruess, Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost, released their sophomore effort on the record label Fueled By Ramen on Feb. 21.

The album begins with the enchanting “Some Nights Intro” where the lead singer, Ruess, shows the darker musings of his mind complimented by Queen-esque harmonies and haunting piano melodies.

The title track “Some Nights” builds seamlessly from the introductory track with hand claps and the occasional guitar riff from Antonoff.

The highlight of the album is the youth anthem “We Are Young,” which features R&B singer Janelle Monáe. The song hooks listeners with a catchy vocal melody, pounding drum beats and the desire to be young and free.

“Tonight, we are young, so let’s set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun,” Ruess croons to his lover during a night of drinking with friends.

Unfortunately, after the animated and Celtic influenced fourth track, “Carry On,” the album succumbs to excessive electronic manipulation.

The low point in the album comes in the redundantly orchestrated “One Foot.” The same five notes are repeatedly drilled into the ears for three minutes with no change between the verses and chorus. The song’s saving grace lies in the lyrics being a poetic desire for a better world.

Throughout the entire album, Ruess’s unique and stylish vocals are hidden behind the vocal pitch corrector, Auto-Tune.

Songs like “It Gets Better” and “Stars” that would normally be a thrill to listen to are marred by the excessive distortion of Ruess’s voice.

Although the heavily digitized music is more apparent on the later half of the album, there are occasional breaks from the distracting enhancements.

“Why Am I The One” boasts a peaceful string accompaniment that is a welcome break from the excessive production. It is also reminiscent of Fun.’s previous album.

Fun.’s other effort, “Aim and Ignite,” flourished with organic sounding instrumentation. While there was still some obvious electronic enhancement, it was not as apparent and overwhelming as the production of “Some Nights.”

The album is heavy with outstanding qualities like beautiful melodies, creative lyrics, rhythmic drumbeats and Antonoff’s heart-stopping guitar solos, but they are not enough to distract from the Auto-Tune and over-the-top sound.

In spite of a strong, intriguing musical base, Some Nights is ultimately a victim of the over-synthesized production that has become a staple of modern pop music.

Bands need to change and adapt in order to remain relevant, but it is unfortunate when the evolution overcomes the genius that was already present.

Allison Lavelle can be reached at allison.lavelle@laverne.edu.

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