Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Some Nights"

fun. has emerged as one of the more popular and influential groups this year. They certainly have one of the more original and exciting (in studio, at least) sounds going. Unfortunately, their first single was too high in the rotation on the radio. (A mixed blessings for bands as they get increased exposure but people get sick of hearing them.) They also have a borderline nihilistic outlook on the world. In that sense they reflect the culture around them.

This year’s second single, “Some Nights” was no less “anthemic” than “We Are Young,” but it is a much richer song. Musically it has a lot of variety and flair, but is a bit impossible for them to reproduce live. Lyrically, it does not embrace the meaninglessness of their previous hit, but rather they question it. They don’t know what to stand for, but recognize that as a problem.

Questioning a sense of meaninglessness may be a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t have to be. Seeing problems in the world is not the same thing as recognizing the way we contribute to those problems. There is a sense of pride even in judging the world as messed up. If you can’t see yourself as needing help you won’t go from questions to answers. You will just find yourself in a quagmire of criticism.

This is a musical equivalent of the other cultural phenomenon this year, “The Hunger Games.” Both point out that the world is screwed up, but have no answer when asked what we should do about it. (Another track from their current album, “All Alright” is even more problematic in this regard.)

That being said, there is a lot here worth discussion. The song and its video are great springboards into discussions about the bigger issues of life.

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