A Brief Guide to The Format for Confirmed fun. Fans
Statistically speaking, you or some iTunes user you know has, ton-i-i-i-i-ight, confirmed that he and someone else are both young and then set the world on fire at least once in the last year. Last year fun., America's least search-engine-optimizable band, had the biggest rock hit in three or four years, and suddenly gained an enormous group of fans buying its album one song at a time over the internet.
Jason P. Woodbury fun. at Zia Records in 2012.
Some of those new fans--even the ones in town--have never heard The Format, Nate Ruess and Sam Means' consistently delightful and nearly famous mid-aughts band.
For those new fun. fans, then, and for my own selfish desire to see one of my favorite bands get a second life as the Uncle Tupelo to fun.'s Wilco, last year I produced this brief guide to the Format, for people who don't realize how much they love the Format yet.
(N.B.: We also have A brief guide to accepting fun. for confirmed fans of The Format.)
"We Are Young" -- It's tough to find a song from anybody that's quite as anthemic or of the moment as fun.'s biggest hit, which was resilient enough to fight off challenges from a full cadre of booming, echoey '80s-throwback dance tracks atop the iTunes charts.
Maria Vassett Zia Records fills with fun. fans in 2012.
But The Format did some anthemic, too. "Let's Make This Moment A Crime," from offers all of the rapid-youthful-intimacy bombast and the loud chorus, with, for better or worse, less of the Janelle Monae. It also sounds less like it was recorded to a tape filled with carnival sounds than most Format songs, which makes for an easier transition from fun.
The Format's a very different band from fun., but Nate Ruess's distinct voice isn't the only thing they share; both bands mix anxious, wordy lyrics with big, accessible music, and both write deceptively weird songs. On first listen their songs feel like straightforward pop; it's when you go back afterward and try to diagram what you've just heard that you realize how many "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"-style changes it took them to get you there.