The song at #81 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Some Nights” by New York City-based alternative pop-rock band fun. Formed in 2008, fun. consists of singer-songwriter Nate Ruess, multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost and singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer Jack Antonoff (who’s also front man for the terrific band Bleachers). Their debut album Aim and Ignite was fairly well-received, though a commercial disappointment. But it was their second album Some Nights that propelled fun. to international fame. The title track “Some Nights” was the second single and follow-up to their massive hit “We Are Young” (which appears later on this list). The song was a worldwide hit, reaching #1 in Australia, New Zealand, Belgium and Israel, and also the Billboard Alternative, Rock and Adult Top 40 Charts. It reached #3 on the Hot 100.
With both folk rock and power pop elements, “Some Nights” has an incredibly exuberant melody, with a powerful military-style drumbeat and Ruess’ commanding vocals that give it a jubilant vibe. The song has been favorably compared to Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia”, and in fact, in an interview with Billboard, Ruess stated that Paul Simon’s Graceland was a major influence for the song. He added that the song is about “just being someone different on any given night.” In another interview with Mesfin Fekadu of the Associated Press, Ruess explained: “I’m always thinking about, ‘Who am I and why did I do something like that?’ And I think then it harkens back to my family, and I have such a strong tie to them and it’s always therapeutic to sing about them.”
The rather dark and intense video, produced by Poonam Sehrawat and directed by Anthony Mandler, depicts a fictional battle taking place during the American Civil War. The band is shown performing the song from afar as a battle breaks out, with lead singer Ruess appearing as the commander of the Union force.
In early 2015, fun. announced they were going on hiatus so that each band member could pursue their own individual projects. Ruess sang on P!nk’s 2013 hit single “Just Give Me a Reason” (which will also appear later on this list), and on Eminem’s 2014 single “Headlights”, and released a solo album Grand Romantic in June 2015 to mostly positive reviews. Andrew Dost wrote the soundtrack for the 2015 black comedy The D Train, and is currently working on new music. In addition to his work as front man for Bleachers, Jack Antonoff has worked as a songwriter and producer with several renowned artists, including Taylor Swift (on her albums 1989, Reputation, Lover and Folklore), Lorde (on her album Melodrama), St. Vincent (on her album Masseduction), Lana Del Rey (on Norman Fucking Rockwell) and The Chicks (on their album Gaslighter).