Imagine you were part of a group that publishes an album that, while not changing the world, charts on Billboard for 14 weeks and peaks at 71.
Imagine that, undeterred, you go on to release a second album a years later. This one goes bonkers, peaking at number three, and spending 92 weeks (almost two years) on the charts. The album is certified platinum and its lead single becomes the first and only song to be downloaded 300,000 times or more weekly for seven weeks. By 2016, it would be certified 6x Platinum.
In fact, that single is so good that it wins a Grammy, and the album as a whole garners four more Grammy nominations.
So, the logical next step is to dismantle the band, right?
Maybe that sounds wrong to you, but that’s what the band fun1 has done.
Their first album, Aim and Ignite, came out in 2009.
Their second, far superior album, Some Nights, came out in 2012. The first single of the album, “We Are Young,” came out in September of the previous year, and was popularized by an episode of the television show Glee, which aired that December. It would go on to be featured in commercials and garnered a Grammy win for Song of the Year.
The Band also took home the Grammy for Best New Artist, which seems wrong, given that they had already released an album, but the rules currently state any group that has somewhere between 5 singles/1 album and 30 singles/3 albums, has not been nominated more than three times2, and must have achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness . . . during the eligibility period. It’s a weird rule, but it means that fun still qualified.
And so, after going on tour to support the album, the group went on indefinite hiatus. The last anyone has heard from the group is a note posted on their website back in 2015.
Among other things, they explained that “fun is not breaking up,” they “make fun albums when [they] are super inspired to do so,” that all three members are all working on separate projects, and that “it would have been very easy for us to jump back in the studio and capitalize on our momentum. [B]ut making records and touring when its ‘good for business’ means nothing to us.”[sic]
That missive was published on February 4th, 2015, around three years after Some Nights was released, and a little over three years ago today.
I can respect that they don’t seem to be in it for the money, or the fame, or the recognition, though, as someone who writes a blog that updates five times a week, I have to wonder if they really wait for inspiration to strike. I’ve found that waiting on that can leave you waiting forever.
So, where are they now?
After Some Nights, lead singer Nate Ruess did some work on other people’s albums. He was featured on the song “Just Give Me a Reason,” on Pink’s album The Truth About Love. He later released an album, Grand Romantic, in June of 2015. He had his first child in February 2017 and seems to have largely dropped out of the music scene since Grand Romantic came out. He was a guest advisor on season 8 of The Voice television show, but other than that seems to have kept a pretty low profile.
Andrew Dost, who contributed multiple instruments to fun, including piano, is perhaps more interesting because of what he did before fun than what has come after. In 2009, he released an album based on the life of Christopher Columbus, titled Columbus!. According to the Amazon Editorial Review of the album, Dost takes “preposterous liberties with the legendary tales of Christopher Columbus,” creating “a quirky story and . . . a heartfelt world for it.”
Since fun went on hiatus, Dost wrote the soundtrack for the film “The D Train,” which starred Jack Black. He also composed a score for the podcast “Missing Richard Simmons,” which was about an investigator’s attempt to figure out why Richard Simmons abruptly withdrew from public life.
Jack Antonoff, lead guitarist for fun, has formed the solo project Bleachers, for which he is lead singer and songwriter. He released Strange Desire in 2014 and Gone Now in 2017 under the Bleachers name.3 Antonoff has become a prolific songwriter, writing songs for Carly Rae Jepson, Lorde, Pink, and Fifth Harmony. He’s also written/co-written no less than 11 songs for Taylor Swift since 2012.
He’s also become a producer and was one of the producers on Swift’s album, 1989, which garnered a Grammy for Album of the Year in 2014. The dude’s not having a bad musical career.
Here’s a question for you though: do you think fun will ever get back together?
Given what I’ve seen in my research, the answer is no.
Part of my reasoning is that they are becoming different people than they were the better part of a decade ago when they were working together. They’re working with different people and having differing experiences. They’re probably growing.
Which means if they ever do sit down to work together, the pieces may not fit the way they used to. Or at all.
Secondly, I think they didn’t like touring. The tour that supported Some Nights surely brought them a ton of money, but at the same time, it was a world tour. My general impression of these musicians is that they’re way more interested in the music than the fame or money. They may not be extroverts, either, which could make touring hard.
Furthermore, Ruess has a kid, and Antonoff wants kids, which while not preventing touring, makes it much harder and less desirable.
But, if they get back together to make another fun album, it would be hard for them to get away with not touring. There’s too much money at stake.
Maybe it’s not a conscious thought, but if they didn’t really like touring, that could be holding them back from doing another album together.
Whatever the case may be, my guess is that we’ve seen the last of fun. Which is okay, because they went out on top, which is something few bands can claim to have done. There is no decline. There is just fun.
- They stylize it like this. If it bothers you, welcome to the club. It bothers me, too
- A poorly-worded rule. A literal reading of the rule suggests that someone can be nominated up to four times, but no more, despite the fact that it uses the number “3.”
- One of the tracks on Gone Now is titled “Don’t Take The Money,” which seems to describe the ethos of fun to a “T.”