“In the music industry, the people are represented by three separate yet equally important groups — the artists who write songs, the radio stations that kill them, and the listeners who are forced to witness their gruesome public execution. These are their stories.”
December 6, 2011, 6:40 p.m.
I heard a new song on the Philadelphia rock station tonight while driving through Princeton. I immediately liked it. There’s a major tempo change about midway through that made me giddy. I’m a sucker for tempo changes. The singer’s voice sounded familiar, but I couldn’t pinpoint where I remembered it from, so I did what anyone would do in my situation: I Shazam’d it.
Turns out the song is called “We Are Young” by a band with the ambitious, perhaps ironic name of “Fun.,” a band I am semi-familiar with as being an extension of a now-defunct band called The Format. As I wasn’t aware that they had new material coming out, I was pleasantly surprised to hear them on the radio. When I got home, I found out that their new album won’t be released for another two months, so I bought the single off iTunes. I listened to it a few times before ultimately deciding that I didn’t want to overplay it. I hate doing that.
January 16, 2012, 6:12 a.m.
“Toniiiiiiight, we are younggggggg / So let’s set the world on fiiiiiiiiire, we can burn briiiiiighter, than the suuuuuuuuuuuun.” Such awesome lyrics! I can totally relate, man. I’VE NEVER FELT SO ALIVE. I’m in the airport now getting ready to go on vacation, and I just want to listen to this song for the entire flight. I’m not even going to wait for the flight attendant to tell me when it’s okay to use my portable electronic device because FUCK THAT I’m young and I’m gonna set the world on fire.
This past month I’ve just been telling everyone about this song, I’m all “Did you hear the new Fun. song yet? It’s so good. Really, really good, dude. You’ll love it. Check it out.” Then they do check it out, and guess what? They love it.
February 5, 2012, 10:44 p.m.
“We Are Young” was featured in a Super Bowl commercial tonight. It was a Chevy ad, one of those commercials where they have to tell you on the bottom of the screen in really small print that this is a “Professional driver on a closed course.” Remember that Foster the People song that everyone really loved but then really, really fucking couldn’t stand once Nissan decided to put it in a commercial? This could be the beginning of the end. I’ll keep you posted.
February 9, 2012, 8:11 p.m.
I’ve now seen that Chevy commercial with the Fun. song a total of 174 times in the last four days. Each time I see it or hear it, I place a tally on the wall of my room in pig’s blood. The song has almost become a constant background hum that just lingers over every single waking moment of my life. It’s like the quiet buzz of electricity that you hear when you stand under power lines. When I close my eyes to go to sleep at night, that song is playing through my head on an endless loop and it’s a little hard for me to fall asleep without putting a pillow over my head, even though there’s no audible sound. How can I get the song out of my brain? How can I set the world on fire? How can I be youuuuunnnngg?
February 21, 2012 1:25 p.m.
The Fun. album came out today. I listened to it on Spotify a few times, but skipped over “We Are Young” every single time. The rest of the album is actually really good, but I feel a heavy dread hanging over me every time “We Are Young” gets close. If I forget to hit the skip button before the singer Nate Ruess tells me that his friends were in the bathroom getting higher than the Empire State, then it’s already too late. It will be in my head for the rest of the day and I won’t be able to do anything about it.
The other day, I thought about robbing a convenience store because I couldn’t get the song out of my head. I thought maybe if I got locked up, the constant noise and distractions of a typical prison cell block would keep the song away. I’m afraid I need help. Or less Fun.
March 13, 2012 5:10 p.m., 6:19 p.m., 6: 31 p.m., 7:02 p.m., 7:57 p.m., 8:50 p.m., 10:09 p.m.
The song is on the radio more and more these days. Some days, it feels like it’s the only song that exists. Since I left work today I’ve heard it on the radio three times in the car, once in Pep Boys, once at Subway, and then another two times in the car.
Tonight, I wondered what would happen if I died while the song was stuck in my head. Would I hear it for the rest of eternity? That’s why I ultimately decided not to “accidentally” drift into the highway divider.
March 25, 2012, 9:44 p.m.
SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT THE FUCK UP WE ARE NOT YOUNG AND I DON’T WANT TO SET THE WORLD ON FIRE WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN ANYWAY.
April 2, 2012 2:33 p.m.
I’ve noticed that I now emit an audible groan every single time I reach for the radio dial to change the station and every single time the song comes up on my iPod on shuffle. The groaning sound is actually simultaneous to the action of skipping the song or changing the station, almost like a Pavlovian response. I’m getting better though. It seems like the darkest days are behind me now. I’m just focusing on how to move on and live my life despite the song’s ubiquity, rather than finding ways to make it go away.
It’s never going to go away. But then, neither am I. I am young. And Fun. There must be a way to coexist. I write a letter to Nate Ruess explaining my conundrum, but don’t know where to send it and end up just eating it, and chasing it with a half bottle of Grenadine.
May 6, 2012, 11:04 p.m.
Today “We Are Young” came on the radio and I didn’t even notice until the chorus came in. In fact, I actually found myself singing along before I even realized what I was singing. I’ve become completely numb to the song. It’s almost like it exists on an entirely different plane of reality. It’s hard to explain. The only thing that matters is that I think I’ve finally beaten it. I’ve outlasted it and soon the song will die out, and I will still be standing.
It all feels like such a relief. Maybe one day I’ll actually be able to listen to the full album all the way through without skipping the song and maybe I’ll even go see them live one day and not have to leave before the encore.
Anyway, I just heard this new song everybody’s been talking about by some guy called Gotye. Weird name….
These handwritten transcripts were uncovered in late June 2012 by a highway construction worker peeing in a bush near the side of a remote back road in Northern New Jersey. The papers contained a bloody handprint, but the origins of the transcripts have not been discovered, nor has the identity of the person who wrote them. At the bottom of the last entry, in a child-like scrawl vastly different from the handwriting seen in the rest of the entries, was a quote:
“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” – Hunter S. Thompson
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