Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Band You Should Know: Fun.

My roommate is a music master. Seriously, this guy knows all, making him particularly adept at mix CD's. Only thing is, he doesn't give you a track list until AFTER you've listened. It can be a pain, but it can also yield many cool surprises. Such as last December, when I heard these lyrics:

Until their lips start to move, and your friends talk music
I say I've never heard the tune
But I have, I just hate the band 'cause they remind me of you.

You know the movie High Fidelity?  I've pretty much lived it.  Not just the weirdly recurring ex, but the indie friends.  The coworkers fixated on the obscure.  The city of Chicago, not from the perspective of a tourist or a rich Gold Coaster, but an obsessive nerd in dirty jeans making ends meet and trying to figure out life and love through the lens of pop culture.

And most of all, associating song lyrics, bands, movies, books, plays with former crushes, boytoys and lovers?  Oh yeah.  Oh yeah.

Didn't hurt that said lyrics were crooned in a Freddie Mercury-like belt primed for screaming.  That's like catnip for the Queen freak in me.

The song?  "All the Pretty Girls."  The band?  Fun.  I had to know more.

Turns out, this "American indie pop band" (what on Earth did we do before Wikipedia?) was formed by three guys who had three bands of their own: Nate Ruess of The Format, Andrew Dost of Anathallo, and Jack Antonoff of Steel Train.  As I'm not a music critic (this is where the "unprofessional" part comes in), I myself am not sure how exactly to describe their style.  I guess "American indie pop" would be one way to phrase it--and I'm not one of those people who derides the word "pop," because a good song is a good song--but I'm not sure if those are the words that immediately come to my mind.

I'd maybe go with "dramatic," but not in a wannabe freshman theatre major type of way.  I'm talking about recognizing the big moments that lie in the small.  Comparing someone you love to a sandwich.  Reminding yourself to stay calm.  Realizing that pickup lines just aren't your thing.

In short, I'm going to go the route of Mia Michaels from So You Think You Can Dance when it comes to describing Fun.'s album, Aim and Ignite: it's a blue wind.  It's a hurricane and a purple rainstorm.  It's everything.

Because in a way, this brief 10-song album IS everything.  The songs run the emotional and experiential gamut: falling in love, acknowledging an imperfect relationship, outgrowing your old group of friends, breaking up, making up, coming home, being okay with the weird and flawed person that is you.  And none of this is emo and mopey and navel-gazing.  Quite the contrary: even the saddest songs make you want to dance, not necessarily pogo stick around the room, but move.

I apologize if this sounds la-la-la ambiguous.  I can analyze the shit out of celebs, movies and books.  I've been trained to pick apart plays.  But for me, music has always been a bit more difficult to pinpoint.  Even if I knew how to properly critique it, I'm not sure I could.  Because there's something about the way a lyric, a chord, a voice will just hit me.  Something primal.  I get it, I understand it, and I have a yen to listen to it again and again.  And I can't quite explain why, so I'll let the band speak for themselves:

In short, that's how Fun. makes me feel.  And if you give them a shot, maybe you will feel it too.

Just as I started this post with a roommate story, I'll end with one: last month, we both turned 30. He had been hinting forever that I was going to LOVE my present, only telling me that no, he hadn't arranged for Joel McHale and Anthony Bourdain to visit our apartment and have a threesome with me. The actual gift, though, was better: a Fun. poster, not only signed by the band, but personalized to Unpro on her 30th birthday. They even drew a little cake.



  1. Joel McHale didn't visit me on my 30th either but there's always next year!

  2. Haha, Rebecca, we can share him!

    Love your blog, by the way, and thanks for visiting mine. :)

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  4. Just wanted to say that this was a great post. I'd never heard of fun. before reading this, but I bought their CD and it's one of my favorites. Thanks for the recommendation!