In HateSong, we ask our favorite musicians, writers, comedians, actors, and so forth to expound on the one song they hate most in the world.
The hater: Nebraska-born musician Tim Kasher is best known as the frontman of two Saddle Creek bands, emo stalwarts Cursive and sad-bastard quartet The Good Life. He’s also appeared on records from labelmates Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, and Son, Ambulance, as well as LPs by Thursday and Planes Mistaken For Stars. Lately, he’s focused on his solo material, and his current record, Adult Film, is now available. Kasher is also on tour right now.
The hated: Fun., “Some Nights”
The A.V. Club: Why did you pick Fun.’s “Some Nights”? It’s a relatively new song.
Tim Kasher: It’s really ubiquitous. At least it was six months ago.
AVC: So why hate it?
TK: To be honest, I just tried listening to it a minute ago, because I’ve never actually listened to the whole thing before. So I’m being a little bit cavalier. Maybe I’d really warm up to it, but I highly doubt it. It’s one of those songs I kept hearing, and I had to keep asking what it was. Then I kept hearing it more and more, and it was frustrating. It became really grating. It’s just one of those things when a song becomes commercialized to such excess. It drives you mad.
AVC: So it’s not the Civil War references in the song, or the fact that it sounds like “Cecilia?” It’s overexposure?
TK: Ohh! God, I hadn’t thought about that. Yeah, the [Sings.] “Ohh-ohhh-oh” part? Yeah. That makes sense. I’m a big fan of “Cecelia.” Maybe I should come back to “Some Nights.” Maybe I’ll come around to it in a few years when all of the fun has died down.
AVC: When all of the Fun. has died down.
TK: I’ll become a fan after that. I can enjoy it after the fact. I brought this up a few weeks ago to a buddy, and he made such a great point. He said it sounds like it’s from the Lion King musical, which I thought was well put. It’s family-friendly, which is why it’s a good commercial song.
AVC: Fun. is definitely a theatrical band.
TK: There is a big nod to Queen, and I love Queen. I don’t know if it’s this specific song that makes me dislike Fun. more. I feel bad about it. There’s a whole part of the song with multilayered harmonies that really feels a lot like Queen, which is of course very theatrical. I don’t know. I guess I only love it when Freddie Mercury does it.
AVC: Fun. quotes “99 Luftballons” on the track. It says, “This is it boys / This is war!”
TK: Oh yeah, I’ve heard that. I guess I didn’t realize it was a Nena reference, but yeah, absolutely. Good for them. See, now I’m just warming up to the whole thing.This is more like an intervention to realize how much more is going on in the song.
AVC: You can still hear it and not like it, or not like parts of it. “I don’t like this Auto-Tune here—”
TK: Yeah, and that’s actually part of it. I was scrambling to get to the song, so I cheated. I just kind of went to the end or the three-quarter mark that I hadn’t heard before. I’m guessing there must be a radio edit or something, because it sounded like an Auto-Tune solo or something like that.
AVC: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. The dude can sing. Why use Auto-Tune?
TK: Right. It’s for the guys who don’t sing really well. You can tell he’s good on that “We Are Young” song. He’s just belting it real high, isn’t he?
AVC: “Some Nights” had such a slow burn, just like “We Are Young.” It started sneaking onto college radio, then alternative, and then commercial, but that took almost a year. It just kept getting bigger.
TK: Yeah, it got huge. They’re so huge now. I remember first coming across Fun. on the festival circuit in 2012. It was just the name, I had never heard of them. I imagine they just showed up. It was all part of that creeping that they did so well.
AVC: “We Are Young” and “Some Nights” had the same trajectory as Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.”
TK: I was going to say that! It reminds me of those exact people.
I guess to avoid too much offense, I feel like it’s that quiet major-label push that we’re not supposed to see coming. They’re pushing it as indie rock, but they’re pushing it really hard, and before you know it we’re all singing along.
AVC: In the band’s defense, it’s very catchy.
TK: Absolutely. It’s not like they don’t know how to write a song. I’m not even trying to be kind or anything; I can absolutely recognize that.
AVC: Have you seen The Lion King musical?
TK: No, I haven’t actually. I just imagine that’s what the music sounds like.
AVC: It’s probably accurate, but if Fun. asked you to go on tour with the band, would you?
TK: Yeah, probably. It’s kind of a trickier question, because if and when a band that humongous were to actually ask you to go out on tour… you know, it’s one of those things when you’re such a small act, it’s a waste of time anyway. I’m not even really sure it’d be a good idea. I don’t think I have to worry about them asking me to go on tour—especially after this.