So much for Glee‘s influence over music and popular culture slowly grinding to a halt. After going most of the season (and a healthy chunk of the last one as well) without spinning off a real hit single, it looks like the Glee Cast is gonna score their second smash in three episodes this week. Of course, the first one was Adele, a “Rumour Has It / Someone Like You” mashup, and you know that just about anything Adele is bound to sell like hotcakes in 2011. But this second one is slightly less explicable, unless you’re willing to allow that the show is in fact more popular than ever: Fun.’s “We Are Young.”
Huh? For those unfamiliar with the show (or with the artists on the lower tiers of the Fueled By Ramen record label), “We Are Young” is a super-dramatic, super-anthemic statement ballad not unlike Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” (which we have to assume must have inspired the song in some way, though it’s missing any section that would make for good stripper-dance-fight music), featuring weirdo-pop icon Janelle Monae on guest vocals. The video for the song features one long take of a woman in what looks like a hotel bed, awkwardly projecting alternately seductive and suicidal facial expressions, and laboriously peeling an apple (and possibly cutting herself). It is very strange and possibly great, but it is not Adele’s “Someone Like You” (or even “Rumour Has It”).
Yet, Glee fans certainly appear to have cottoned to the song, which was featured in last night’s episode after the Sectionals performance. The Glee Cast rendition of the song crash-landed on top of the iTunes charts quickly after the show’s premiere last night and as of posting nearly a day later is still firmly in pole position. Meanwhile, the Fun. original, which has never charted anywhere for any reason, has also benefited tremendously from the exposure, reaching #18 on the same chart. It does have that anthemic (sorry, but that’s the word for it) underdog quality to it that the show’s fans do seem to love, but it’s still somewhat unexpected that such a relatively obscure song would reach this level of success when so many better-known crowd-pleasers (“Last Friday Night,” “Somewhere,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”) have failed to connect on the same level.
Good for Fun., anyway. It’s growing on us.