[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]
Song: Fun.'s “We Are Young”
History: Fun. are a band from New York. (We are not going to do that period thing anymore.) “We Are Young” is the first single from their second album. If you have ears and are not deaf then you have heard it. Ostensibly, it is brilliant, the actualization of cool. Which is why it can only aptly be described as the most nefarious, most misleading musical project of the last twenty years.
Atmospherics: Anthemic everythings.
Scientific Analysis: Fun would appear to exist within the parameters of science. I mean, dudes, their lead singer, Nate Reuss, obliquely looks like Guy Pearce and Guy Pearce was in a movie called Time Machine and in that movie he played a scientist who invented a time machine and used it to go forward in time and fought some monsters that lived underground and if I'm not mistaken that's basically the whole point of science, bro.
But that's largely why this whole thing is so effective. They're dangling reason in your face and engaging in witchcraft behind your back. The song is a farce, a dastardly magic trick played on not only your ears, but your eyes as well.
For your ears: This song is wonderfully interesting the first time you hear it, or even if you hear it occasionally in commercials in whatnot (I swear to God I thought I wanted to buy a fucking Chevy Sonic when they started using “We Are Young” as their theme song). There are interesting arrangements (the level changes are especially fun) and interesting drums (there are few finer moments in all of music right now than the opening stanza) and interesting songwriting (“My seat's been taken by some sunglasses asking 'bout a scar”) and interesting supplemental vocals from a girl with interesting eyebrows. But listen to it more than twice in a row, or even all the way through at a high volume. Its charm unravels itself quickly; it all just becomes too much. It's like those marshmallow Peeps. Eat a couple and they're delicious. Eat more than three and you'll want to murder everyone standing near you. There's a reason they only sell them on Easter, is what I'm saying.
More dastardly though is the trick it plays on your eyes. To wit: the video.
Watch the video for a second. Marvel at it. That's what 74,000,000 have done since it was uploaded to YouTube five months ago. But, to be clichéd about it, in appreciating it you're missing the forest for the trees. What Fun does here is utilize the time-tested Slow It Down, Make It Look Cool As Shit video technique. Everything always looks more interesting when it's slowed down and played over music. Like this:
That's a video of a little kid playing Wii, a dog walking, a woman working on menial tasks, and a few other things. It's a total snoozefest, except that it's all shown in slow motion, making it seem profound and legitimately cool.
Take a look at this. It also deals with perception. (Note: If you're wearing shoes while you read this next part, make sure they're tied tight, because this is about to blow them right the fuck off your feet.)
This is a picture of my youngest sister wearing a hat.
Pretty unextraordinary, right? But now look. I instructed her to grab the brim of the hat and then make self-aware eyes at the camera. The result: she's about 1000x cooler.
What's more, I then instructed her to add a wicked ironic finger point, and BAM! No cooler person has ever lived.
See what I mean? Perception. An even more obtuse example: Here she is wearing a paper plate with a hole in it on her head.
And after she applied the aforementioned steps from above:
Works with a dirty baby doll that we found in the trash too. Before:
(I) “We Are Young” has probably helped car sales tremendously.
(II) I'm pretty excited to see that new Guy Pearce movie where he fights criminals in space.
(III) Marshmallow Peeps are maybe responsible for more deaths than anyone realizes.
(IV) It's easier than you'd think to find an old, discarded baby doll.