The indie pop masterpiece of 2009.
When was the last time you heard an indie pop album begin with a violin crooning a tune a little too similar to “Ode To Joy”? Well, now you can. Fun., that’s right, with a period after the band name, is the project of Nate Ruess of The Format, playing with guys from Anathallo and Steel Train. No, it’s not a supergroup in the traditional sense. But with talent like this, it might as well be, as the aforementioned opening track, “Be Calm,” unveils. Assuring the listener that “I know that it gets so hard sometimes/ be calm, take it from me,” the song traipses through horns, power chords, and dissonant squeals. And it is genius.
As is the Beach Boys/Bad Company pastiche entitled “All The Pretty Girls.” With 60′s-style backing vocals that echo Ruess’ earnest lyrics, the song should be the biggest hit of the year – but it won’t be, thanks to America’s disregard for indie music. Frequently, I can understand that ignorance – many of the best albums are difficult to get into without a dozen listens, and even harder to truly appreciate. But Aim And Ignite isn’t. “I Wanna Be The One” is one of the most sincere songs of the year, intuning, “for everything you’ve lost, and all you’ve overcome/ I want to be the one to put it in a song.” “Walking The Dog” has attitude, and “The Gambler” (about “love at second sight”) is a piano-and-strings piece that positively enchants.
And with so much attention given to the musical arrangements, which vary between sweet and kickass, it’d be easy to ignore the lyrics, but fun. never do. “I don’t keep friends, I keep acquainted/ I’m not a prophet, but I’m here to profit,” they sing on “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be),” over a raunchy beat and a horn solo. While it’d be easy to relegate albums like Aim And Ignite to the artsy and those obsessed with music (hell, I admit I am), it’s much more than that. It’s the brainchild of a group of men whose music transcends genre specifications or decade particularities – fun. are as much 60′s as they are 70′s, 80′s, and today. No, I’m not advertising a new radio station. Just a band whose album deserves its own.
For your favorite new album from a band you’d never heard of, all the pretty girls on a Saturday night, walking the dog and lighting a roman candle with me.