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We Are Young (feat. Janelle MonŠe)

September 20, 2011 | Format: MP3
Song Title
Time
 
30
4:10
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By D. Goodheart on January 12, 2012
Where did it come from? That tune just kept going through my head. At first I couldn't place it. Then I remembered a recommendation on the Rhapsody web site that I had listened to just once. I finally tracked it down and it turned out to be We Are Young by Fun. I went back and listened, and listened and listened. At that time I did not know that the Glee cast had covered it. Just as well. This is a superior version by the composers themselves

To put it mildly, this is a truly captivating and complex piece of pop music. Another reviewer has depicted the story of the song, and it seems mostly on track. However, FUN has purposely created some obscurity in the lyrics, so it is hard to pin down a clear narrative. If you look at the video on the wearefun.com website, a violent bar room brawl occurs as the band plays on. In any case, the overwhelming message of the music is upbeat and unmistakably hopeful, evidenced as well by the two refrains that weave in and out of each other, "We are young, so let's set the world on fire" and "Carry me home tonight."

The music is what caught my attention from the beginning: the rapid drum beat gives way to the solo voice of the Nate Ruess but stays in the background, then a soft intermittent piano chord eventually takes over from the drums, followed by a shift to a strong wall-of-sound effect belting out the melody and introducing the dominant drum beat. In the acoustic version this melody is clearly a duet with Janelle Monáe; in the full band version it is not clear if anyone is joining Nate Ruess.
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The song starts with a beating drum reminiscent of a beating heart anticipating some sort of dark event. The drums continue in a repetitive rhythm underneath as the crooning voice of Nate Ruess begins telling the story of his abusive relationship. His story weaves in and out of the verses about his "lover" that he has "scarred" and presumably verbally and physically abused. None of the other characters in this shady story are remotely characterized compared to the girl. The lyrics do so by creatively avoiding specifying characters; for example, the use of metonymy when "sunglasses" take the main character's spot at the bar leaves an air of generality that is used to always draw back to the main girl. At the end of the first verse, which slowly introduces a drum and piano into the mix, the music abruptly stops with the exception of Ruess's voice and piano chords.
With a burst of bass, piano, and drums, the song climaxes into a thrilling and mesmerizing chorus. The main line claims that "tonight we are young" so "let's set the world on fire" and "burn brighter than the sun." It is hard to remember the dark story being told in the verses since it is difficult to not sing and nod along to the encouraging chorus. The bass line carries the chorus along, while the piano and drum supplement the bass with chords and beats that all add together to create a music powerhouse for Nate to sing to.
A second pause leads into the second verse that resembles the first verse's sound but with a stronger musical undercurrent. The lyrics shift back the couple "find[ing] new ways to fall apart" but it is less depressing because it continues on the enchanting sound of the chorus.
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One of the reasons I believe this song hit fandom is because it's unique and with some country rustic crooning undertones compared to the majority of pop these days. I appreciate the fresh breath of air it brought before it became overplayed.

It also is very accurate in capturing the college-age party scenes, and surely resounds in that crowd. Or at least it does among my classmates.
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I don't care for Top 40 pop radio songs under normal circumstances, but every once in a while some unobtrusively well put together little ditty comes along and sticks in your head forever...but in a good way. This is Exhibit A.
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i know this song is very overplayed on some radio stations, but aside from that, the song is just so fun to sing along with. very upbeat in tempo and the chorus is what everyone waits for. i definitely never considered listening to Fun until this particular track.
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I heaard this song on the radio and was impressed, it's hard to find some great songs from today's music. I love this song because of the vibe it gives off. I also liked the commerical they aired during the 2013 Super Bowl with this song, the commerical said it all. I don't know that much about the group FUN, but I know 1 think I love this song.

THX,
Kris L. CocKayne
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Just a REALLY fun song -- makes me feel younger again! :) I actually saw them live and they're really good live.....albeit they obviously had the recording company write a few extra songs for them because they were obviously made too hopefully be popular. They performed with 3 other people that were studio musicians....but they're worth seeing live.
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