Normally, I’m not that much of a big rock fan. I think rock is too noisy, rowdy, and uncivilized. Yet, I will have to admit that I am one big fan of one rock song, which is “We Are Young,” by Fun.
This song, sung by Nate Ruess and featuring Janelle Monae, became one of the top five pop songs of 2012. Despite its wonderful success, the song had humble beginnings. It started from a meeting between famous Jeff Bhasker, who decided to give just ten minutes to Nate Ruess. He had already canceled two meetings with him. (Perhaps Jeff thought Nate was simply a singer wannabe.) There, they went to a bar and had a drink. They started talking about music, and Jeff was intrigued by Nate’s desire to “merge hip-hop beats and electronic effects with pop rock.” Jeff later invited Nate to his hotel room, and Nate, who was feeling a little bit drunk, suddenly blurted out the chorus of the unfinished “We Are Young.” Later, Jeff reacts with an “OMG” and demands Nate and his group to show up and perform.
The fact that this was all at a bar is in fact relevant to the song’s context. Here’s the song:
The song’s pretty awesome, isn’t it? Well, right now I will focus on the composition of the song. In the first part, which is all the lyrics before the first chorus, the musical tone seems to be a little bit carefree. Well, not exactly carefree, but as if the singer was drunk. The lyrics are pretty good; I like the ”
getting higher than the Empire State” quote the best.
And now onto the chorus, which is what makes this song so popular. The tone here is not drunk. It is more than drunk. The tone seems to me as if one is tired of this world and wants to do anything he wants to do. This kind of tone, I am pretty sure, resonates not only with me but a lot more other people tired of their lives. Again, many of us would like to “set the world on fire” (not literally of course) so as to get rid of all our troubles. Thus, to us, it seems as if it is a much more “brighter” world.
A noticeable feature of this song includes the “na…na…na..” chant. I don’t know why, but I feel as if this chant is telling me, “Whatever, Titus, who the %&#$ cares about this world.” Also noticeable is Monae’s voice, in which the reason I found this attracting was because I liked how her lyrics matched up with na..na..na chant. The match-up was just beautiful. Nate’s voice was also cool, too.
Some notes from Wikipedia: “We Are Young” is a power ballad that combines the genres of indie pop, alternative rock, and power pop. The song is written in the key of F major, based almost entirely on the 50s progression (I vi IV V) with the exception of its bridge, and follows a tempo of 116 beats per minute, changing to 92 bpm from the pre chorus to the end. The song has a slow hip hop groove from the first chorus onward, and the song in its entirety is in common time. In the song, “careful arrangements layer sharp, bright piano melodies with big, booming drums and multiple vocal harmonies.” Ruess shifts from “vulnerable verbal tumbling in the song’s sonically sparse intro to the grandiose declaration, ‘Tonight, we are young..’
I usually sing this song when I’m feeling angry or sad. Either way, I still just enjoy listening.