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We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club. Fortunately, we end up liking some of them. In Playlisted, we share our latest recommendations.
Album: Some Nights by Fun. (out now on Fueled By Ramen)
Press play if you like: Catchy, panoramic orchestral pop, like an indie-emo Queen or Electric Light Orchestra with a hint of Foster The People.
Some background: The members that make up the oddly punctuated Fun. have a pedigree that lends itself to grandiose, theatrical pop: The Format’s Nate Ruess, Steel Train’s Jack Antonoff, and Anathallo’s Andrew Dost. The project that would be Fun. formed in the immediate aftermath of The Format’s break-up, a topic Ruess still doesn’t talk much about. But he brought touchstones of that band, including his prose-style lyrics, to the new project. With production assistance from Steve McDonald (who produced The Format’s Dog Problems) and arrangements by Jellyfish’s Roger Joseph Manning Jr., the band put together its debut, 2009’s sweeping Aim & Ignite. On Some Nights, the band incorporates more synthetic elements, relying heavily on keyboards and drum machines. (The beat on “All Alone” sounds like it could have stepped right out of a hip-hop track.) Singer Janelle Monáe’s guest vocals give a soulful underpinning to the epic, chugging “We Are Young,” the album’s breakout single. (If you know it, you’ve probably heard it a million times already.) Not all of the changes work; Ruess’ voice is strong enough that the Auto-tune tinkering that crops up occasionally feels like too much fussing with a good thing. Still, though the sound of Some Nights is less organic than Aim & Ignite, it’s just as hook-heavy as its predecessor.
Try this: “We Are Young” is currently a Top 10 hit thanks to being prominently featured in a car commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl. So in case you’re sick of that song try this: The horn-fueled, thundering anthem “Carry On,” which bridges the gap between the band’s first album and the newer, electronic approach on Some Nights.