Sure, Nate Ruess has come a long way since his folk-loving power pop days as Phoenix’s The Format, but does the Fun. frontman hate Dubstep now? The band best known for its current Janelle-Monae-featuring single “We Are Young” is unabashedly pop friendly, harking back to 70s rock bands with some modern theatrical production magic worked in. Personally, we prefer Ruess’ songwriting dressed down as with the Format’s 2003 Interventions and Lullabies, but Fun. is definitely, well, fun.
So imagine our sadness when we get deep into the band’s debut album Some Nights and–after many sleepless nights of dubstep on the brain–we realize that one song is not like the others (AKA, lacking in serious Freddy Mercury hero worship). And after getting it in our heads that Ruess’ latest band and album is trying to save theatrical rock, it’s hard to listen to the track “It Gets Better” and not see it as a blatant attack on the genre of dubstep.
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The song abruptly starts with the “robots having sex” sound that many find offensive about dubstep and features about 20 seconds of this high-register wobbly 2-step electronic snare beat, complete with glitchy tweaks under a Skrillex-esque autotune voice that sings, “What have we done? Oh my god.”
But the whole song is not this offense-t0-true-dubstep. Instead the verses and chorus have an insistent rock beat and pop-chord progression that continues over lyrics such as “You never looked so bored” and “It’s hard to stay inside my head when words keep pouring out” (which could be a reference to how dubstep DJs often create their music in a solitary environment). The chorus itself repeats the line, “It gets better,” perhaps directly nodding to the return of the glitchy dubstep beat that re-occurs briefly in the build-up line before each chorus. The back-and-forth between catchy rock beats and the more off-putting 2-step beats makes for a schizophonic song that seems to spread an anti-dubstep case across three and a half minutes.
Do you think the song itself a battleground for these two supposedly disparate music genres or are we just getting our panties in a bunch?