Monday, February 25th, 2013

fun. – Carry On

How many awards do you suppose fun. would have to win to let Janelle Monáe sit with them?


Pete Baran: Their name is fun. Their website is And their singer looks like Guy Pearce washed at 60 degrees. And I guess at any fun thing, we all need a moment of reflection to realise how much fun we are having. I could almost like this if the only insight I had into the song was that it was written exactly for that moment on the Some Nights tour when enough people know the album for them not to play the hit as the last song of the undeserved encore. I can’t help hoping that when 10,000 people are singing “Carry On” along with them, one of fun. might feel a little dirty. 

Anthony Easton: I prefer the “fun” to the “.” .

Al Shipley: They started having hits first, have a Kanye producer in their corner and are signed to Fueled By Ramen. But at this late date I’d like to put those facts aside and retroactively lump in these suspenders-wearing cornballs and their Disneyfied platitudes in with The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons. They fucking deserve it for this song. 

Scott Mildenhall: This really exemplifies the overcurrent of serious. that has run through fun.’s career. a magniloquent grasping at significance. and the metaphysical. Basically, gibberish.

Andy Hutchins: If Queen were produced by Jeff Bhasker.

Brad Shoup: Everything fun. does sounds like Paul Simon. In this one song I hear his beloved conspiratorial convos, the snare rap with huge footprint of “Bridge”, the fusion of middle-class near-wisdom with indigenous forms. But Rhymin’ Simon was never most effective when minced into a rage, as Ruess’ vocals are at the end here. I also loved the Auto-Tune flutter in the last verse of “Some Nights”; it carried tones of Kanye’s mediated reverie, but it was also an adorable kludge for Ruess’ limitations. It was the MacGyver paperclip keeping a hijacked spymobile running. I don’t know what it is here. It’s a bit of nice in a larger pool of “nice.”

Katherine St Asaph: I kind of dig how Nate Ruess has a divisive voice, like half the time he’s singing he’s gotten a phone call with Crest Whitestrips on, trying to talk with his gums set just so, and half the time he’s startled he just swallowed the gunk. Likewise, there’s plenty divisive about this: its “Sound of Silence” reference that suggests “The Sound of Silence” starting at 1:50, after the silence; its retrograde faux-grandiosity, its rousing rollick organized conspicuously neatly; its dude-centricism (note what the wives do in the lyric; it ain’t carrying on); but I kind of dig, again, how this is improbably part of the state of mainstream pop. But just kind of.

Alfred Soto: Bringing accordions into the Top Forty. Bringing butter knives to a fist fight. 

Rebecca A. Gowns: I am a big fun. hater. I hate how fun. makes me look so emphatic. What the fuck is the beginning of this fun. video. What the fuck is this entire fun. video. I hate the singer’s voice. I hate high fructose corn syrup. I hate fun.

Patrick St. Michel: “Carry On” — and fun. themselves — is something I want to hate, but find myself unable to shake. It’s fun. at their most predictable, those opening piano notes building up to a big ol’ shout-a-long that just has to make room for a dippy guitar solo. The lyrical theme is obvious, and it’s delivered in the at times grating shriek of Nate Ruess. Like “We Are Young,” this song hides a darkness the chorus doesn’t broadcast (“and we talked and talked/about how our parents will die/all our neighbors and wives”). Unlike the constant march of “We Are Young,” this builds naturally to its up-with-life roar and the still-stupid guitar solo. Maybe I’m getting less cynical as I get older, or maybe this popped up at a time when I could use a message like this, but I think this is the best thing fun. have done yet. They are masters at making music that on paper I want nothing to do with, and somehow getting me to play them again.

Reader average: [6.23] (13 votes)

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8 Responses to “fun. – Carry On”

  1. Pete, I think he looks like John Mulaney.

    And I whiffed on that S&G reference, so thx for writing that, KSA.

  2. The video makes me like this song a lot more. I like Nate Ruess, but I wish he would play around with his dynamics a little: there’s a really nice undercurrent of sadness in his voice, but on the first chorus of this, he’s so loud that it crosses the line from uplifting to grating.

    But good on them for bringing accordions (I think that’s what they were) into mainstream pop.

    Also, random question: how would you guys rank “Some Nights,” “We Are Young,” and this?

  3. Glad you asked!

  4. I would rate them as 0 and 0.

  5. I was gonna blurb this but I figured that Rebecca would have me covered. (She did.)

  6. Not sure if it’s Nate Ruess’ hangdog expression, or his terrible dress sense, or the lack of Jeff Bhasker production, but something about their SNL performance really elevates it for me:

    p.s. Katherine’s description of his voice – INCREDIBLE

  7. I’m actually not anti fun. – I’m not really anti any band, that would be daft – Some Nights is great, gibberish and all; even We Are Young withstood its seeming omnipresence, more or less.

  8. Their other songs are all about clubbing, so this one makes a nice thematic change, even if the actual sentiments get garbled. Still, a nice enough anthem.