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Following the Format's breakup in 2008, Ruess took his songwriting skills to Steel Train's Antonoff and Anathallo's Dost, both of whom shared a similar affinity for vintage pop music and quirky, melodic hooks. The trio began a series of collaborations in Antonoff's parents' living room and soon enlisted the help of producer Steven McDonald, who recorded their work and handled bass duties. After enlisting the help of former Jellyfish keyboardist Robert Joseph Manning, Jr., who arranged several tracks, the bandmates completed work on their first record. Dubbing themselves Fun., the group introduced their Queen and ELO-influenced big pop sound in 2009 with the debut album Aim and Ignite.
In 2012, Fun. returned with their sophomore effort, Some Nights. The album was produced by Jeff Bhasker, who worked on Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The album drew much inspiration from hip-hop, and West in particular, while staying true to their roots and blowing their sound up to impressively large proportions. The record's first single, "We Are Young," featured vocals by Janelle Monáe and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album's second single and title track fared similarly well, eventually landing at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2013, Fun.'s rising reputation as both commercial and critical darlings reached a peak when they received four Grammy nominations, and ultimately took home awards for Best New Artist and Song of the Year for "We Are Young." ~ Andrew Leahey