In Defense of fun. and the Sublime Blandness They Do So Well


Hey, man! What are YOU doing Saturday night? Wanna go to Radio City Music Hall with me and watch motherfucking fun.? Wait, where are you going? Dude, why’d you just unfriend me on Facebook? I just tried to email you and it bounced. I thought we were best friends, and now you’re acting like you barely even know me.

But, like, okay. Here’s why you should see fun. with me tomorrow, or at least not be actively mad that me and eight gazillion other people are gonna go see them.

See also: Will The Chart-Topping Success Of fun.’s “We Are Young” Break Pop-House’s Top 40 Stranglehold?,

One thing that’s always concerned me is how the listening public (you included) gets really pissed off about things they don’t listen to. Like, a band like fun. is essentially inoffensive and earnest, if more than a little goofy. There’s no reason anyone who doesn’t give a shit about modern pop-rock should be upset about them; they’re not sonically odious, they don’t appear to be a bunch of racists, and they seem happy to occupy the lane that they’ve found themselves in, which is That Band Who Makes Pleasant But Boring Pop-Rock Songs Who Aren’t The Lumineers. Maroon 5, the former Band Who Makes Pleasant But Boring Pop-Rock Songs, are obviously a bunch of dickheads because Adam Levine is a human tribal arm tattoo. But fun.? They seem fine. I dunno man, maybe I’m missing something.

See also: fun.’s “We Are Young” Brings Indie Pop To The Super Bowl And The Hot 100

And have you listened to Some Nights? Doesn’t count if you streamed half of it on Spotify while you were in the shower. I mean have you sat down and marinated in this auditory cardigan’s sublime blandness, its perfect storm of faux-soulful (fauxful?) singer-songwriterneering colliding with super-universal statements that feel vaguely personal? It’s almost a beautiful tapdancing-over-hot-coals act that Some Nights manages to accomplish, sounding like almost 38,496 different genres and pulling it off in the most innocuous way possible. They do Billy Joel doing Queen doing showtunes where the phrase “jack my style” still occupies the pinnacle of edginess and should be delivered with the exact phrasing of some plucky dude in a high school musical wearing rags and fake dirt on his face. They do 808’s And Heartbreak-era Kanye songs that turn into Jimmy Eat World songs. They steal Hold Steady riffs and repurpose them for Elton John songs. They exist in a world where Sufjan Stevens and the dude who wrote the songs for The Muppet Christmas Carol would collaborate on a Lenny Kravitz album. The whole thing is lathered in AutoTune, the vocals are multitracked to fuck and back, and there’s a nice slice of Key Lime Kanye Drums for dessert. fun.’s Some Nights is the Sgt. Pepper’s of shit that sounds like other shit, and its dead-centerdom should be applauded. Remember: Some people’s favorite ice cream is still vanilla, and some people’s favorite music sounds an awful lot like the stuff fun. is coming up with.

See also: Q&A: fun.’s Nate Ruess On Self-Help Lyrics, Second Chances, And “Pessimistic Optimism”

If nothing else, you should see fun. on Saturday night with me because the main fun. dude used to be the main dude in the Format, a pretty good indie-pop band that didn’t make music whose sole purpose was filling up a pair of Beats By Dre. Their opus is Dog Problems, which is an album about how the guy got dumped and he didn’t know what to do with the dog that he and his girlfriend owned together, which is really one of those problems that nobody tells you about when you’re growing up and then suddenly you’re slapped with it one day and have to make an album about. But that band is dead because not enough people cared about them, and now we have fun., a band that does a really good job of sounding like all music ever. There’s literally nothing wrong with taking the money and running, especially if after you’ve gotten dumped you decide you could do with some exercise.

Or maybe you should go see them with me because, like every other young person under the age of 27, pop-punk was once your favorite genre of music, and fun. is the last hope of the once-great Fueled by Ramen label, which put out classics by some of your ex-favorite bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic (née !) At the Disco, Less Than Jake, The Academy Is, Gym Class Heroes, Cobra Starship, and the soundtrack of this season of your favorite show Girls. Just because they’re a tacit reminder of your uncomfortable past doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Jack Antonoff’s Beatles-lite guitar solo on “Stars,” right? Eh, maybe it is.

So, that’s my case for you seeing fun. with me on Saturday night. We can sneak snacks in so we don’t have to buy any concessions, and then we can stay out really late afterwards! Maybe even until midnight! We’re gonna have the best time ever.

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