If you know me, or read my blog then you’d know how much I love Arcade Fire. I think they’re the best band of the generation, and no other band I’ve seen live has ever compared to them. Funeral, their debut LP, is my favourite album of all time. I have never felt so deeply attached to an album like that one, it’s simply just beautiful music.
I also am a massive fan of Neon Bible, The Suburbs and Reflektor. I found Reflektor was very hard to get into, and whilst it’s a little long and perhaps a little over-ambitious, it’s got some amazing tracks, and I appreciate it even more now that Everything Now is out…
I’m not going to kiss their asses over everything they do just because they’re my favourite band. I firmly believe that all bands, especially ones that like to experiment with their sound, occasionally release a record that isn’t a hit with fans.
The album has been out for a few weeks now, and I kept meaning to write this review sooner, but I didn’t have time. I am now fairly confident after many spins, that my initial thoughts are fairly the same, therefore I think I’m giving this a very fair review. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy the songs that are my favourites. I think the last 2 full songs are easily some of the best work that Arcade Fire have ever done; as the lyrics are up to the bands usual standards, and are deep and personal with a hint of that Arcade Fire magic, you know? The same for title track Everything Now, which I’ve loved so much since it came out. I also felt the same about Creature Comfort immediately as well. I just wish most of the album was as good as them 4 songs, because some of the songs in the middle of the record just aren’t what I love about AF, which is how complex their music is, where you can listen to a song hundreds of times, and you can hear something you totally missed. Some songs on here are a little.. dare I say it.. average.
Here is my opinion on each track.
1. Everything_Now (continued)
Okay, so this had already been heard before at the beginning of the video for Everything Now. It’s a short introduction to the album at 46 seconds long. I do enjoy it, and it sets the scene very nicely. I find that it almost sounds RNB to me. I do think the fact this intertwines with the last track is very clever, more on that later…
2. Everything Now
Ahh, Everything Now. I fucking love this song, it’s such a bop! I genuinely experienced love at first listen with this song since it was released as a single a couple of months ago, and it’s amazing live. Arcade Fire + ABBA = Everything Now :’) The song has a very cheery, infectious beat. But don’t let it deceive you, there is a darker undertone. Basically the song is about how you can literally have everything now. You can watch years and years of TV shows in a few hours, you can listen to the complete back catalog of a band with a 3 decade long career within a simple push of a button. I find this baffling when I think about it. I think this is easily track of the year, so catchy.
3. Signs of Life
Signs of Life was the 3rd single to be released out of the 4 before the album came out, and it’s my least favourite of them all. I really didn’t like it at first, in fact I was there when they debuted it for the first time at Scunthorpe, before anyone even heard the studio version. I knew I didn’t like it from then on, but it has grown on me, and does get stuck in your head. I like the first half of the song, but it just repeats itself too much towards the end of the song. It’s obviously heavily influenced by Talking Heads, which is probably why I like it a little, as Talking Heads are fucking amazing! Lyric-wise, I just don’t like it. I just find lyrics about waiting in lines outside nightclubs is a bit lackluster compared to the amazing songwriting of previous records.
4. Creature Comfort
Another one released as a single before the album, and one of my favourites still to this day. It’s extremely synth heavy, and live it’s so badass. Trust me. I’ve seen some critics give this one stick due to the heaviness of the lyrics, but if you feel like that then don’t fucking listen to Arcade Fire! They tackle subjects such as self-halm and suicide in this song, which are very relevant topics at this day and age. I’m not entirely sure if it’s a personal song to the band, but I have an inkling that it could be. “Assisted suicide, she dreams about dying all the time, she told me she came so close, filled up the bathtub and put on our first record” is my favourite part, obviously as Funeral being my favourite album. Maybe it comes across as egotistic that they’ve claimed that an album has saved someone’s life, but when it’s as good as Funeral, then they’ve got every right to be egotistic! This could be true though, and that’s why I think it could be a lot more personal than people think.
5. Peter Pan
This is an almost reggae track, and the bass is thumping! It would sound so good on a proper sound system. It’s definitely one of my least favourites on the album, but I watched an interview with Win Butler, and he said that he wrote this song one night when his Dad was very poorly. I now understand the lyrics better, as before I thought the lyrics were a bit cringy. Now it’s clear to me that it’s about wanting to go back to childhood, and prevent death and illnesses of people you love. I appreciate the song a little more knowing it’s origins, and my Grandad is very sick at the moment, so it explains perfectly how I’m feeling.
Chemistry has gotten so much stick, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I like it. You can hear the band has spent a lot of time in New Orleans, with the use of the brass instruments here. I think it’s so fun and catchy, and I love the riff just before the chorus too. I think it’s a shame that they felt the need to repeat the word ‘chemistry’ so many times towards the end. Not the best song in the world, but enjoyable.
7. Infinite Content & 8. Infinite Content
Ugh, I just can’t bring myself to talk much about this if I’m honest. What was they thinking? I get the whole infinite content thing, which they got the point across a lot better in Everything Now, without being so in your face… I was looking forward to hearing the first of the Infinite Content’s, due to hearing it was a punky song, I thought it could be like Month of May, which they pulled it off beautifully. In this song, they repeat the same lyrics over and over again for 1:42 seconds, and then do it AGAIN on the next track. If there was a bit more substance, then this would be a really cool idea. Listen to Month of May from The Suburbs, and then the first Infinite Content, then you’ll see why this makes me so sad…
9. Electric Blue
This is Régine’s time to shine, and I really like it. Sprawl II is one of my favourite songs from The Suburbs, and the same goes for Electric Blue. I didn’t really like it at first, but it’s definitely a grower. I love the bit when she sings really high near the end, it’s crazy how high her vocal range can reach. I can really tell that this song is paying homage to the late Prince and David Bowie. Sound and Vision anyone?! “Blue, blue, electric blue
that’s the colour of my room” ❤
10. Good God Damn
Funky song with a great baseline. Another grower, another bathtub reference. I wonder if the songs lyrics correspond with Creature Comfort? I can feel more Bowie influences here, which isn’t surprising as the band were very good friends of his.
11. Put Your Money On Me
After a weak middle of the album, things start to pick up here. This song is probably my favourite song on the record apart from Everything Now. I just find everything about it incredible; the beat, the lyrics, the vocals, and the fact that it feels so vulnerable. I particularly like the second verse, it really pulls on the heartstrings when the trumpets come in and Win sings about trumpets of angels. Sometimes it’s the little things in music that grab your attention. I love how much they sound like ABBA during the chorus, too. I think that’s why it’s my favourite along with EN, as ABBA are one of my guilty pleasures!
12. We Don’t Deserve Love
Warning: this one is a real tear-jerker. At 6.30, it’s the longest song on the album, and whilst admittedly it’s a slow burner, the whole thing leads into one beautiful, heartbreaking ending. The vocals are so raw, and apparently was done in one take, which makes it even more raw in my opinion. Lyrically, this is the best on the album.
“Keep you waiting, hour after hour
Every night, in your lonely tower
Looking down, at all of the wreckage
When we met, you never expected
And you said, maybe we don’t deserve love”
As I said, it’s a tear-jerker, and a gorgeous one at that. The last verse hits me even harder, for some reasons that I can’t quite explain. Listening to it now and I’m welling up, I’m such a wuss for sad songs, haha. This along with ‘Put Your Money on Me’ really are the saviours of this album to me, and almost make the shitty midsection forgivable…
13. Everything Now (continued)
Another Everything Now, but really cleverly, to go along with the whole ‘infinite content’ theme of the album, it loops perfectly into the first track in a seamless transition. The song is longer than the first track, and I absolutely love it once the string sections come in. I think every Arcade Fire fan will probably feel excited when they hear a violin, because the first two records were so heavily focused on string instruments. I also love this because when I went to go see them in Scunthorpe, Isle of Wight and Manchester, they came out to this version of Everything Now, so it brings back some great memories for me.
I like about half of the album, which isn’t good as usually I can listen to Arcade Fire’s albums back to back without skipping. I think it’s hard to believe that this is the same band who made Funeral, but bands move on, and this is where they’re at now, and no matter what their still the best live band on the planet. I personally think that the songs I enjoy are just as good as their old material, but I just find a lot of the tracks to be kinda lifeless and just everything Arcade Fire wasn’t before. This is their first album that hasn’t been received greatly by critics, so as this is their 5th LP, they haven’t done bad! They’re still my favourite band by a million miles!!! 🙂