Six-Star Songs: Fun, “Some Nights” (2012)

I was in a thrift store in Florida when I first heard Fun’s “We Are Young” on the radio in March 2012. I don’t think I would have paid it any attention under most circumstances, but on this particular occasion two teenage girls were standing nearby singing along. (As a DJ, you learn to pick up on social cues like this in order to stay current with trends.) That song ultimately proved to be the band’s biggest hit but it didn’t do much of anything for me, and it would be over a year before “Some Nights”, the second single from the album of the same name, would grab my attention.

While the video for “Some Nights” complements the song’s militant marching-band rhythm quite well, I’m not sure if its civil war theme was intended to convey any more meaning than that. Perhaps Fun was trying to express emotions that equated with war, and if war is at all a draining, primal ritual, that’s what I felt like I was going through when I discovered this song. I had been in a “relationship” for about a year and a half…well, at least I thought it was a relationship. In all fairness to the other party, I’ll call her B., she tried to make it clear time and time again that she never saw things between us the same way I did. I began growing tired of feeling used, and after cutting myself off from her I went through a period of serious depression, which included chain smoking and losing a lot of weight.

During the time we were “together”, we would hang out maybe two or three times a month. We would meet up in the late, drunken hours of the night, sleep together, and go our separate ways in the morning. There was one night in the spring of 2013 when she texted me, drunk as usual. I was living at my Mom’s in Ballston Spa, New York and she was in Albany, about a 35-minute drive south. It was probably about 1 a.m. Powerless as I was over her, I drove down the Northway and picked her up from the bar she was at. We got a room at a shitty motel on Central Ave. B. was always in the habit of being affectionate toward me at night when she was drunk but then emotionally distant in the morning. This occasion was no different, and I remember sinking into a deep despair the following day as I finally realized how long I had been asking her for more than she was willing to give.

“Some Nights” became my anthem as I tried to get over B. There were numerous car rides where I banged out the beat on the steering wheel as it blared from my car’s distorting door speakers; it was cathartic and it took my mind off the self-inflicted loneliness I had subjected myself to, even if only for a few moments. I’ve never fashioned myself as being very good at interpreting lyrics, and though the internet seems to think that the song might be a dialogue between the narrator and his old self, it sure sounds to me like a song about heartbreak. Despite my confusion about the lyrics, the song has managed to communicate something very real. The minimalist arrangement, the rhythm, and the chorus’ howling-in-unison collectively emit a relatable sense of longing and exhaustion that even the most anti-pop music snobs will be hard pressed to deny.

It’s been about two years since I last hooked up with B. I know she’s wrong for me in so many ways, yet a seemingly endless string of romantic failures in my life have left me wondering if she’s the only girl I’ve ever loved. ‘Love’ is a loaded word that surely means many different things to many different people. For all I know, love is irrational; it means for the rest of your life you would drop everything you’re doing for someone if that’s what they wanted. I feel like I will always be open to the possibility of trying to make things work with B., no matter how she changes. Maybe I’ll eventually meet someone I feel the same way about and then my feelings for B. will change. Until then, I’m committed to being single by choice and B. is little more than a memory stirring up old feelings when I hear this song.