Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2012

We Are Young by fun. featuring Janelle Monae

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A quirky indie power pop ode to the young urban night owl life style.

Song: We Are Young
Artist: fun. featuring Janelle Monae
Album: Some Nights
Songwriter: Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost, Jack Antonoff, and Jeffrey Bhasker
Producer: Jeffrey Bhasker
B007UVFCXM

Concept
A sophisticated urban expression of young adult life in the fast lane, with images carefree irreverence, booze, drugs, and hazy dreams. The style is very theatrical, 50s, and early 60s, all at the same time.

Lyric
Arty, almost poetic, words that convey an irreverent attitude a set in a hip late night barroom. VERSE Give me a second, I need to get my story straight My friends are in the bathroom getting higher than the Empire State My lover she’s waiting for me just across the bar My seat’s been taken by some sunglasses asking 'bout a scar, and I know I gave it to you months ago I know you’re trying to forget But between the drinks and subtle things The holes in my apologies, you know I’m trying hard to take it back So if by the time the bar closes And you feel like falling down I’ll carry you home CHORUS Tonight We are young So let’s set the world on fire We can burn brighter than the sun

Groove
A moderate 8th groove that changes tempo theatrically, from section to section, very rare in pop music today.

Melody
A wide ranging melody in a bright major scale with a memorable shape, striking contrasts, and a retro vibe.

Harmony
Simple major diatonic triads reminiscent of 50s progressions but with variations. I vi ii IV V (2x) // ii iii vi V IV ii V // I vi IV V (2x) I vi ii IV V // I vi IV V // I IV I V (4x) // I vi IV V // ii iii vi V IV I

Structure
An unusual structure with a prechorus not repeated until the end as a tag. A B C A C D C B Verse Prehook Chorus Verse Chorus Bridge Chorus Tag

Signature
An unaccompanied drum beat is the only introduction.

Production
Bright and carefree sounds with a nod to traditional pop and old rock styles that make an effectively contrast to the hipster almost decadent edgy merriment.

Performance
Sung with youthful exuberance and quirky attitude.

Predicted Longevity
As unique to pop as Queen was to rock in the 70s, the recording is not for everyone, but its loyal urbane audiences as well as fans of the TV show Glee will cherish it for years as a favorite song.

Album Cover: Some Nights

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