Why you haven’t heard it:
Indie pop/rockers fun. made it big with their 2012 album Some Nights, which went platinum in the U.S. and lead them to win two Grammys, but Aim and Ignite, their 2009 debut album, is where it all began.
The band is made up of Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost, and Jack Antonoff, who has become well-known as actress and writer Lena Dunham’s boyfriend. When Ruess’ former band The Format broke up in 2008, he formed fun. for a new musical outlet, but they didn’t get a lot of traction in the mainstream prior to Some Nights’ release.
Why it might be tough to get through:
Although Aim and Ignite is undoubtedly an indie pop album, it has a unique sound that differentiates itself from other pop music, including fun.’s later work. It has a theatrical sound in some of its songs, including “Be Calm,” the album’s opening track, which is not everyone’s cup of tea.
It has also been described by some as being a part of the “baroque pop” genre, a type of pop that infuses elements of rock and classical music, like a less mainstream version of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.” Although this makes the songs more dramatic and lively, featuring an array of string instruments and vocalists, it’s different from conventional pop and definitely not for everyone.
Why you should listen to it anyway:
If not simply for Nate Ruess’ incredible range as a vocalist, Aim and Ignite is a fantastic album with a variety of tracks that demonstrate the band’s immense talent. The album has everything from syrupy sweet love ballads like “The Gambler” to “Benson Hedges,” a song that begins with gospel elements that signify Ruess’ love for music more than any religion or deity.
Ruess has also been compared to Queen’s Freddie Mercury for his vocal ability, and the band has clearly been inspired by the British rockers, with nods to their well-known harmonies on “All the Pretty Girls” and “Light a Roman Candle With Me.” If you’re a fan of Queen and are looking for something more upbeat and modern, give these songs a listen.
The track “The Gambler” is about Ruess’ parents relationship, and his father’s cancer diagnosis from his mother’s perspective. Many fans speculate that it’s a reference to The Format’s track “On Your Porch,” which was told from Ruess’ father’s perspective.
Although the band only officially consists of three members, Aim and Ignite featured 19 other musicians as guests on different tracks to achieve their baroque pop sound, including fashion designer Rachel Antonoff, who is band member Jack Antonoff’s sister.
Best lines and songs:
“All the Pretty Girls” is one of the singles from the album and is a lively pop track about the difficulty of finding someone new after a breakup, and how no one else compares when you’re still in love with your former fling.
“I swear when I grow up I won’t just buy you a rose/I will buy the flower shop, and you will never be lonely” from “The Gambler”.