This the first part of series about Arcade Fire, in preparation of the concert that the writing writer who maintains this blog will be attending.
By now I’ve completely given up on actually writing Spoon In Retrospective (Part 5): Transference. It doesn’t really make much sense to write it now; the concert is over and it is a relatively new album, so the “In Retrospective” part doesn’t quite apply. It does apply, however, to Arcade Fire, who I’ll be seeing this Saturday.
Arcade Fire’s background is shady, nobody is quite sure about it. All we know is they are a canadian band leaded by this guy called Win Butler and somehow his wife and his brother are also involved, along with some other 20 people or so (maybe 6-8). Their pseudo-debut was with Arcade Fire, a 7 song lo-fi and very dark EP. It actually doesn’t sound very close to what Arcade sounds now, and that’s a good thing. It’s actually very indie. I don’t know what “indie” sounds like, as I don’t think about it as a genre but as a movement, however, this record really sounds indie. It’s usually what I imagine when I hear someone use the word indie as a genre. There’s just something about its bland instruments and shady out-of-tune voices and its almost lo-fi recordings that make it sound really indie.
And then a year later they surprised the (indie) world with what has been named plenty of times the album of the decade. That’s a very subjective statement, but I can agree with that. It really is good. It’s touching and it’s aggressive and it’s sad and it’s catchy and it’s also unconventional in some parts. Their use of this highly emotional moments in their songs that usually have a build up before them makes their sounds very characteristic, and it’s not that it hadn’t been done before, it’s just that they do it really, really well. Take the “Wake Up” opening chants as an example.
Rumor has it that the name came from a number of deaths in the band’s families near the time of the recording of it, but there’s not a lot of grief here. It’s actually quite happy. It gets shady and emotional at times, like in “7 Kettles” and in “Crown of Love”, but it’s never drowsy or overwhelming, in fact, it’s very emotive and touching and I love that. Let me just say that this is one of my favorite albums, ever. It is probably the album that I have played the most in my car, it’s constantly in rotation over there. “Tunnels” makes me think it’s the greatest piece of music ever written and “Power Out” makes me lose my shit and “Crown of Love” makes me want to cry and “Wake Up” makes me infinitely happy and “In The Backseat” brings out this feeling of awe in me; it’s all about feelings here.
It’s also about Neighborhoods. I’ve presented this album to a bunch of friends, because I feel that it’s my job in the world to spread the word of the Arcades Fires; and usually I’ve gotten a reply about that says something like “what’s with all the songs being named “Neighborhood (something)”?” And I say, “well, I don’t know”. I do sort of know but I don’t care much to explain it (to them). The way I see it, is that this album represents, for the most part, a trip back to the childhood of the band, or the writer, that being Butler. But isn’t that what The Suburbs is about? Well, sort of. The Suburbs focuses mainly on living and growing up in The Suburbs and occasionally some memories are thrown in, but in Funeral it’s for the most part just memories and childhood, and even maybe made up stories; I guess that’s where the Neighborhood parts come in. And then there’s Neon Bible, which is about society nowadays and all that bullshit.
I’m just gonna close up this session of In Retrospective by telling you that if you have never picked up this album, you need to do it and NOW, because you are missing out. Fuck Kid A, this is the greatest album of the past decade.
As the writer writes this, Arcade Fire is playing the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City. The day after the writer writes this, they will play at Guanajuato, Mexico. And on Saturday 16th, they will play at the Teatro Cavaret in Guadalajara, which the writer who writes the writings on this written blog will be happily attending.