BY ANTHONY BEDOY
Rarely do I come across a band that shocks me with their ability to stand out. Many artists strive for that recognizable voice or style that will carry them down in stardom. While Fun hasn't created its name in stardom just yet, this New York-based alternative rock band has definitely set its sights on an even greater goal than just popularity: that goal is to send a message. The most recent single to rock the radios and YouTube pages lately has been "Some Nights." This song, while catchy and harmonious in sound, is also thought-provoking and heart-wrenching. Oftentimes I find myself choked up while I sing along like a young preteen girl. The music video especially adds to the effect and takes the viewer/listener for an amazing journey to have them questioning what they stand for.
The introduction to the video seems to show a man contemplating the past: the war he fought in, the woman he fell in love with, and the days and nights he spent questioning his morality. All of this can be interpreted in many different ways, but it seems like the alignment with the opening line of the song portrays a tension inside of the so-called main character of the video. Interestingly enough, the band chooses to sing together in many parts, especially the chorus, showing the common feeling men and women experience regarding morality and choice. "Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck/ Some nights, I call it a draw . . . "
Our video continues showing symbols of hope, pain, destruction, patriotic glory, and, most of all, the faces of young men unsure of their own future. As the leader singer makes his final words of the first chorus, he seems to be giving a speech to a ragged bunch of soldiers that appear in laden spirits. Again and again, the beats and the words to the song show soldiers and young boys looking unsure about their lives, hoping for some direction from the speaker (our lead singer). I thoroughly enjoy the structure of the speaker/audience as it shows the willingness of the men to listen, possibly hoping for a leader to give them courage, and the boldness of the speaker (singer) to confess that in reality he is oftentimes not sure of himself.
My favorite part of the song and the video is when the soldier washing his face reminisces upon all the things he left behind to fight for something he is not sure of. It speaks to the wars going on around our world today: "So this is it? I sold my soul for this? Washed my hands of that for this? I miss my mom and dad for this? . . . Ten years of this, I'm not sure if anybody understands . . . Who [ . . . ] wants to die alone all dried up in the desert sun?" I find this eerily relevant to the present, past, and most importantly the future regarding willingness and morality. How can one morally stand by their action if they feel their will has been forced upon them? I feel Fun is making an amazing statement regarding the current state of war, life, and most importantly self-responsibility for morals. The song then goes on to a bit more of the same imagery as before but then it goes on to a different point that seems almost a bit disconnected from the rest of the song. The stanza includes the idea of the lead singer's heart as he feels pain for his sister and "the con that she calls love." He then recalls his nephew and as if he was speaking to him directly says, "Man, you wouldn't believe the most amazing things that can come from . . . Some terrible lies . . . " I did some research and found an amazing response from the lead singer's sister:
"Nate's heart was breaking for his sister because she went through a terrible divorce. And though she was 'conned' into thinking her husband was a wonderful guy. She still got an amazing little boy out of the marriage. Hence why he wrote, 'Man you wouldn't believe the most amazing things, can come from some terrible lies.' I know this because I am his sister." --Libbie Ruess
This then brings us to the end of the video, which to me feels less climactic than the reality of the song. We see a woman reading a letter but we don't know the exact contents of it. Then a tear is shed while a final gunshot is fired. To me, this feels a bit cliché and, to be honest, my heart is much more connected to the reality of Nate's sister and the responsibility she took of living with the pain and anguish built upon a lie. Seeing that although she might have been blindsided (much like the men and women forced into wars without consent or just cause), Libbie recognized her own responsibility to care for and love her son, and the goodness that can come from a bad situation.
What do you think of responsibility and morality? Are we responsible for every action we make, even if we are not completely aware of every aspect of a situation? Do men and women engaged as soldiers or civilians in war bear the burden of blame, does it lie with political powers, or is it a mix of both? And finally, do you feel Fun is doing an accurate portrayal of a timeless struggle between responsibility, morality, and the presence of goodness that can come from bad situations?
Fun's video for their song "Some Nights" can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQkBeOisNM0.