Tell Me About That Song: fun.'s "We Are Young"

Lead singer Nate Ruess talks about the inescapable hit of 2012.

SW: Do you remember when and where you wrote "We Are Young"?

Ruess: For the most part I was just in my car driving to meet with another producer that I was really excited about. It felt like we were starting to make a little bit of progress from the songwriter's standpoint of the album, and at that point my brain was kind of in songwriting mode and it just hit me in the middle of the car. I lived with it for a while. I really liked the lyrics, but I was unsure about the melody, and I tried to write the lyrics into a different song, but it really sucked.

Who is the song about?

It's just an amalgamation of all these different insecurities as well as things that happened, kind of making up this story in my head. And also, just a night that I was so inebriated that I remember our bass player and my girlfriend had to take care of me that night. And I thought, "I feel pretty lucky that I have people in my life that are there." Like, forget about all the bad stuff that we've all been through and let's just have one good night, you know?

How was it watching something you wrote performed on Glee?

I didn't see it until the day after. It just . . . it makes me really squeamish. I can't watch myself, I can't look at photos of myself and stuff like that, so hearing other people sing my song always makes me really squeamish, but Glee was very cool for us. It's such a progressive show, and it introduces people to music. So that's just something you could never even say no to. I have a hard time believing that people can say no to something that has a positive effect on people.

Did you approach them or did they approach you?

We gave them the song thinking, "Hey, it's going to become a hit . . . keep us in mind!" and they were just like, "Well, we want to make it a hit." Which is weird, because they had never done that before.

fun. plays the sold-out Sasquatch! Festival (May 27–30) at the Gorge on Mon., May 28.

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