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Check out the new video from FUN , well its not new but just found it today so for me it is. There’s a handful of people that don’t like their first song but you know what I actually enjoy that song, I know am not old for 21 but still sometimes I like to go crazy and sing “tonight we are young”. This song is bad either, the meaning of the song slipped past me on this one so I went online to try and search for it and heres the best one I found from songmeanings.net
“I don’t mean to sound condescending, but if you think that this song is literally about war, you have completely missed the mark. Look up The Format, read about how they got started, their progression, and their demise, and you’ll understand a lot better. Nate Ruess is traditionally an extremely personal songwriter and this is no different.
The song obviously begins with a great deal of frustration. Some nights he cashes in his bad luck, meaning that he likes to milk it and get pity. Some nights he just doesn’t care enough, and calls it a draw. Some nights he wants to be a superstar musician, some nights he’s frustrated with this music thing and doesn’t even care anymore.
Either way, he can’t shake this girl, the ghost he speaks of. The entire chorus is essentially echoing his confusion and the fact that he can’t make a decision on what he wants in life.
The “this is it boys, this is war” verse can be interpreted differently, and several people have had good ideas (barring the people who think this song is about war..). It’s possibly about the start up of fun. About how motivated he was when he started the band. Those who were fans back then will remember this awesome email Nate sent out, as well as a demo of Benson Hedges. What enthusiasm! It was all about how they were going to not follow rules and make music because they loved it. That’s what he’s saying here. Unfortunately, despite producing a great album, he wasn’t satisfied. Critics were too harsh and others stole is ideas.
I’m not sure what the “martyr in my bed” verse is. I would venture to say that he’s referring to some random girl he’s sleeping with to forget his frustration about the music scene. He’s saying “The critics don’t like me, but whatever, I’ll sleep with this girl and take stuff out on her and not think about it.” If he wasn’t with the girl, he’d be alone with his thoughts, wondering what he should do differently.
The next little verse echoes the beginning of the song. Some nights he’s tired of the time and effort that his career requires, and how it cuts into social time. I think he’s afraid that his fans are the ones who will forget him like in the time between The Format and fun. Some nights he wins. Maybe he means that some nights it’s fun and he gets good feedback and fan support?
The bridge, if you want to call it that, is awesome! He’s successful. That’s not arguable. He’s a signed musician, makes songs that are popular, and here he is reflecting on all of this. So this is it…He’s at the top of the music industry, where people would do anything to make it to. He’s asking himself if it was worth it. Selling his soul perhaps means giving in to some of the pressure of the music industry (think back to the Format song “Dear Boy” where he says “they say we’re just not high enough octane”), he left AZ and the family which he is so close to, he quit the Format (washed his hands of it) for this new band. He did all of that and he’s there, wondering what it was all for.
For the stars section, I would say that he doesn’t like all of the hype he’s gotten. He doesn’t like being famous. Stars are just regular people to him. As for songs sounding like a swan, perhaps that’s a reference to some of the overlapping themes in the Format’s song “Swan”.
This next verse is really him being honest and maybe blowing up and saying more than he should. He was super excited for fun. and wanted to take it far, but he’s barely started and he’s bored, just like he was in The Format. He’s been a musician for 10 years now and he still doesn’t feel like people get who he is, what he wants to be, and why he does this. He also admits that he had to be selfish and leave AZ and go make it big. The “desert sun” reference has NOTHING to do with the war. What a dumb suggestion. Go listen to “On Your Porch”. There are other songs throughout his career where the “desert sun” is a clear symbol for Arizona. He spent a lot of time there, but he doesn’t want to just die out here. He wants to make something out of his life.
The next little bit ties up the theme of the song. Some nights, his life feels really terrible. But he thinks to the experiences his sister has has. Clearly she had a bad night (or several) and ended up with a child. But that kid, Nate’s nephew, is really neat. Nate gets a bit of an epiphany and sees the glass half full. Sure, some nights suck, but good things can come from even the most terrible nights.
At the end, Nate dreams about the girl that he is no longer with. He wanted to speak to this girl about the dream, but he hesitated. They had a mutual agreement to stay apart and let each other move on. Simple as that.
I think songs can be interpreted differently by different people. Some of you see war in this song. That’s cool, but the song isn’t about that. See things how you want, and make memories around the song (I remember a big bike race in Southern California when I hear this song), but I thought I’d jump in and clear up the actual meaning of the song. Cheers.”
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