First Hit #1: March 17, 2012
It’s appropriate that the video for We Are Young is entirely slow motion, because it’s a slow motion song, at least in the chorus. The verses are relatively normal – if forgettable – but the showpiece is that chorus, where every single word is held for multiple bars – look at how long the word “tonight” is pulled like taffy – and all but the piano feels dragged, sustained, and stretched, turning the entire thing into something that just feels like a slow motion song. Even the piano contributes the effect, giving a punchy counterpoint to the pull of everything else. It’s a striking effect, something that gives the song itself an immediate hook and contributes significantly to its popularity. It’s not particularly different from the rest of the charts lyrically, still about partying and reckless youth, but a bit closer to closing time than most, but it’s the slow motion that makes it a hit. It pulls for emphasis, and it pulls to stand out.
As a side note, fun. is a very annoyingly punctuated band.