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Many of the lyrics on American indie pop band Fun's second album Some Nights are about frontman Nate Ruess' family. For instance, on this track he sings: "My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she called love, but when I look into my nephew's eyes, man you wouldn't believe the most amazing things that can come from some terrible nights." The singer explained to Mesfin Fekadu of The Associated Press: "I'm always thinking about, 'Who am I and why did I do something like that?' And I think then it harkens back to my family, and I have such a strong tie to them and it's always therapeutic to sing about them."
While writing for their second long player, the band were listening to Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album. So influenced were they by its sound and scope, they hired that record's co-producer Jeff Bhasker to produce Some Nights.
Fun named their album after this track as they feel it best represents not only their entire record, but also where they're at as a band. "I think that the song 'Some Nights' just kind of sums up who we are as a band, and while it's über-personal, I think it gives people a lot of stuff to relate to. It's not a love song; it's a song about being an underdog and trying to figure out where you fall into that situation," Ruess told MTV News.
Ruess came up with the title before he wrote the song. He recalled to Billboard magazine: "I think we were somewhere in Scotland, touring, and I told the guys, 'Hey, check it out. I want to call the album 'Some Nights.' I had no idea where that came from, but they were like, 'That is a fantastic name for an album!' So I had to start figuring out what that meant for me and write a song about it."
Ruess added that he settled into a lyrical idea about "just being someone different on any given night."
Ruess drew on Paul Simon for the musical part of the song. "I was thinking about Graceland, the Paul Simon album, for some reason," he told Billboard. "I had the chorus for the song and I didn't know what I was going to do with the verse, and I remember writing down, 'This will be the best song you've ever written' and was like, 'Alright. I guess I kind of have to challenge myself...' As soon as I felt it was an entire song I showed it to the guys and they were just like, 'We got it, let's go,' which was really exciting. That was the case for the entire album, too; I never had to explain myself. But ('Some Nights') was the first song that really happened for, and it kind of showed me that we were moving as one for the whole album."
The Civil War inspired music video was directed by Anthony Mandler and features actual Civil War re-enactors. The weather was very much a factor during the shoot. "We look like we're having a grand old time and pounding away at the song, but those takes were few and far between this horrible lightning, crazy monsoon storm," multi-instrumentalist Jack Antonoff explained to MTV News. "So, we're basically in a big field - I guess technically on somewhat of a mountain in upstate New York - during a lightning storm, which arguably could be the worst scenario you could possibly be in a lightning storm." He took a pause, concluding, "I think in a weird way it added to the intensity of the video. Let's go on record saying it was life or death."
The song expresses the anguish of a young man who is a long way from home, as he lies in bed at night thinking of his family members. Producer Jeff Bhasker said of Nate Ruess' songwriting to the New York Times: "He can tackle these really dark subjects and put this pop melody to it."
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