Is it just me, or is there a secret artistic story in Fun.’s music videos?
Okay… Maybe it’s just me. But I still think it’s there.
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Here’s the deal: Fun. just released the video for “Some Nights,” the follow-up to their ubiquitous hit “We Are Young.” I love both of these songs, but in most ways, they are very different from one another. While “We Are Young” is a tightly-controlled arena ballad, telling a clear story of romantic heartbreak over a regimented series of drum blasts, “Some Nights” is a wild rock ride. Sonically, it travels twenty different roads, using Queen-like, multi-layered harmonies; an extended autotuned solo; a spoken word section; and shouted verses filled with military percussion. The lyrics are just as chaotic, painting quick pictures of how the narrator has been disillusioned by love, life, and his own ambition. As a result, the song has a loose, stream-of-consciousness energy.
The music videos follow similar paths: “We Are Young’s” clip tells a modest, straightforward tale about a bar fight, while “Some Nights” is an ambitious epic about lovers separated by the Civil War. It’s messy and ambiguous, and I’m not sure who all the characters are, but I dig it.
But here’s the thing: Both of these videos turn intense violence into something beautiful. “We Are Young” uses slow motion (and fancy formalwear) to make the bar fight seem elegant, almost like the Matrix in a nightclub. And in “Some Nights,” the Civil War soldiers are played by ridiculously beautiful male models.
Like… come on. Civil War soldiers fought in terrible conditions. They didn’t have food or water, let alone skin care products, and there’s no way they looked as pretty as these blandly gorgeous boys with their 800 thread-count eyelashes. There’s one grisly moment in the clip where someone gets stabbed by a bayonet, but otherwise, the implied horror of war is softened with dreamy looks and a hottie in a bathtub.
The clip even ends with a title card that says “Fin.”, and I don’t think it’s a play on the band’s name. To me, it suggests this Civil War massacre is supposed to be an arty European film, where everything is so stylized that we can ponder the blood as it splashes beautifully on the ground.
And that’s fascinating! Both of the Fun. songs, for all their differences, are high energy and a little wild, yet both of the videos are polished to a high sheen. What’s the story here? Maybe Fun. wants to makes us pay more attention by doing the opposite of what we expect. Maybe they’re really excited by European film. Who can say? But it’s interesting to guess.
Mark Blankenship tweets as @IAmBlankenship. He doesn’t think the Civil War seems fun. (WHAT? Puns are awesome.)