This is not an exit

A tribute to all that is fun.

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm

The Format and Steel Train are, quite possibly, two of the most fun bands I’ve ever had the privilege to witness perform live. It’s fitting, then, that when Nate Ruess and Jack Antonoff began collaborating in 2009 they took that adjective and used it as the name for their little side project.

fun.’s first album, Aim & Ignite, is somber, energetic, and unforgivingly upbeat all at once. It’s also one of the most relentlessly — there’s seriously no other word for it — fun collections of songs I’ve ever heard. Tomorrow the wait for the band’s second studio LP, Some Nights, is finally over. You can check out the whole thing on SoundCloud, courtesy of fun. themselves. But for now, in the spirit of Music Monday and my love of playlists, why don’t we take a look at five songs from The Format, Steel Train and fun. that you really should listen to if you love the Ruess-Antonoff project.

5. The Format – “Wait, Wait, Wait,” Interventions and Lullabies

This is the second track on The Format’s first full-length. While the opening song, “Cause a Scene,” always gets me going, it’s not until “Wait, Wait, Wait” starts that you get a feel for what Nate Ruess and Sam Means were really going for. This song is perfect for driving through country roads in the middle of summer, a particularly favorite pastime of mine from my high school days.

4. Steel Train –  “Black Eye,” Trampoline

It’s tough to pick a single song from Trampoline to represent the album as a whole — the first half starts hard and fast while the end of the album really plays to Jack Antonoff and the rest of the band’s folk and country roots. This may be a radical departure from Twilight Tales from the Praires of the Sun, but it’s done wonderfully and sets the tone for the band’s independent debut, which comes three years after Trampoline‘s release.

3. Fun. – “Walking The Dog,” Aim & Ignite

You may remember this song from an Expedia commercial. But that 30-second clip doesn’t really do it justice. I chose this song because it does the second best job of embodying the overall feel of the album. The song that does it best is “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be).” But I already used that track in another playlist and didn’t feel like repeating it. Still, this is one excellent piece of music that shan’t disappoint.

2. Steel Train – “Touch Me Bad,” Steel Train

If you listen to the Steel Train’s first EP and LP, you probably won’t recognize what the hell this is. Well, it’s Jack Antonoff and four other guys free of the constraints that come with a label deal. As part of the band’s first foray into the world of independent production, Steel Train sounds nothing like anything you’ve heard from the band before, yet it’s still undoubtedly Steel Train. And anyone who can sing about “eating colors” and get me to shout it at the top of my lungs during a show is alright in my book.

1. The Format – “If Work Permits,” Dog Problems

Is it cliche to include a closing track as the final song in a playlist? I almost feel as though it is but, hey, it’s not like I’m doing this professionally or anything. What “If Work Permits” accomplishes in five-and-a-half minutes is purely awesome. It goes from slow and somber to fast and hard-hitting. Even if the final lyrics recount a life under an abusive patriarch, it’s a ride worth taking.

But what do YOU think?

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