FUN2.JPG
Fun.

The Paramount

Tuesday, Feb. 5

On the surface, there isn't anything wrong with Fun. In fact - if the massive success of their sophomore

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Fun. Is Entertaining, Predictably Derivative at The Paramount

FUN2.JPG
Fun.

The Paramount

Tuesday, Feb. 5

On the surface, there isn't anything wrong with Fun. In fact - if the massive success of their sophomore album, Some Nights, is any indication - you might say they're almost perfect.

Frontman Nate Ruess is a poster boy for singing soaring pop songs that make you feel happy and good and inspired -- lovely pop-rock songs you can listen to with your parents.

Sure, their songs mention the occasional recreational drug use (live, they insist that "drugs are bad"), but they haven't got the darker lyrical content a-la Foster the People and their not overtly sexual like Maroon 5. Ruess is a likeable front man because he's wearing boat shoes, and white pants. And he's cheesy.

There's no question the breakout stars of 2012, who brought us the incessantly catchy "We Are Young," delivered the goods on Tuesday night. Ruess' vocals - when not completely soaked in Auto-tune - were sharp. The stage setup - heavy on lights and fancy graphics - was on point. The wall of crazy (sex?) mirrors provided a perfect outlet for a healthy dose of crowd narcissism. Straight up, these fellas know how to entertain.

The main problem with Fun., though, is that you can't really pinpoint what "Fun." is because they've spent all their energy trying to sound a whole lot like everybody else. In fact, nearly every single track on Some Nights feels recycled. Sure, the lyrics are different, but the general feel - the heart of every song isn't new.

In truth, Fun.'s sound is a combination of the best part of other artists. It's the glitter of Elton John, the heroism of Linda Perry, the cheeky hooks of Hello Goodbye, the riffs of Annie Lennox - and the production of every other major pop hit on the charts right now. It's perfect, because it's had time to be perfected. But it's all been done before.

Make no mistake. There's a reason Fun. has had so much success in the last year, and why they are being recognized for that success as a performer at the Grammy Awards this weekend: they've taken what works - grandiose pop anthems - coked them out and handed them to the Energizer Bunny. And in the flesh, they're on a next level, feel-good trip.

On each song, the chorus gets bigger, the percussion more explosive, the vocals a little more impressive. People love them - and are vibing and squealing and pumping their fists. But not in the Jersey Shore way; it's more like an "I feel empowered and awesome and I want to dance badly" way.

The songs are catchy and relatable, and easy to sing and dance along to. Their themes are just general enough to apply to the moody 16-year-old in all of us. And though they're a tad overproduced - they're fun.

Overheard in the crowd: "They're going to play, like, every song they have."

Critical assessment: Well DUH. They only have two albums out. And about 80 percent of this crowd has no knowledge of the first.

Critical bias: The guy that said this was beyond annoying. There is no way in hell he wasn't on some sort of upper, and he was one frat boy "whoop" away from getting laid out by every person in the room.

 
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