Sure, Volkswagen’s “Star Wars” canine chorus and Honda’s reprise of Yello’s “Oh Yeah” from “Ferris Bueller” may be getting the bulk of the Super Bowl buzz right now, but few current bands will be getting the type of exposure that Fueled By Ramen’s fun. is about to receive. The band’s “We Are Young,” already the benefactor of a high-profile cover on “Glee,” is the soundtrack to Chevrolet’s 60-second “Stunt Anthem” spot for its 2012 Sonic, making the track a lifting, well, anthem for an ad that also features Ok Go and skateboarder Rob Dyrdek.
Andrew Bancroft, associate creative director for Chevy’s agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, tells Billboard.biz the agency considered “hundreds of songs” before settling on the fun. track. “It’s a beautiful song, with a number of different projections in that driving beat and very sweet melody,” Bancroft says. “It just felt right for the campaign and kept rising to the top.” He liked the track so much he selected it even before pairing it with the ad’s footage, a rarity in music-synching terms.
“Chevrolet instantly fell in love with it, too,” added Hunter Hindman, Goodby’s executive creative director. “We could go through trying a couple different tracks against, but it turned out once we played this song even during a rough, rough early cut…there was no question, it was just great.”
For fun. frontman Nate Ruess, the newfound attention to the band by way of “We Are Young” has been quite welcome, something even his old band The Format never quite achieved in their critically praised heyday. “I’ve been doing this for 10 years and never had anything happen quite the way it’s happened in the last year,” he says. The additional exposure could help propel the song even further up the Billboard charts. Since debuting on the Hot 100 at a high of No. 53 in December, the song has been climbing its way back up to eclipse its peak position. This week, it rises 26 spots to No. 63 on the Hot 100, and jumps 72 to 41 on Hot Digital Songs.
And though the band has been on a bit of a licensing tear, Ruess calls the song’s placements “tasteful.” “Obviously you never write the song hoping it ever fits into a commercial of something, you just want to write a good song,” he says. “I think we’d be more apprehensive if it was something like a cheese commercial.”
The song’s propulsive, beat-driven sound is representative of a new direction for fun., which will release its second album “Some Nights” on Feb. 21. Produced by Jeff Bhasker (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lana Del Rey), the set was inspired by Ruess’ hip-hop obsession kickstarted by Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” He began scanning the liner notes of his other favorite hip-hop records, and noticed that Bhasker’s name was among the most common. “I thought, I absolutely have to meet with this guy, and everyday we tried to make these meetings work,” Ruess recalls. “I think Jeff was blowing me off a couple times, he was working with Beyonce and just didn’t have any time when some kid from some random band really wants to sit down and meet with you. Luckily, someone twisted his arm and made him.”
The band will tour well through the spring, before returning to their hometown of New York City this summer. Ruess says his new Manhattan apartment doubles as a metaphor for the band’s next steps. “I’m trying to figure out how to decorate it. I’m so obsessed with a much more modern vibe. It doesn’t remind me so much of myself, I’m usually rooted so hard in myself, very retro,” he says. “It’s just weird in how I’m trying to embrace the future and how much more natural it feels now. That’s what the album is like to me – us embracing the future and enjoying what comes.”