Arcade Fire’s new album adds variety to their discography
THE SANTA CLARA
November 7, 2013
What it means to be an indie band is an ever-changing definition. When Arcade Fire broke onto the scene with their landmark debut “Funeral” in 2004, who could have imagined that nearly a decade later the radio would be full of mainstream acts influenced by indie bands just like them?
One of the biggest turning points in this transition happened in 2011 when Arcade Fire won Grammy of the Year for their album “The Suburbs,” beating out megastars like Eminem and Lady Gaga. So now that everyone wants to sound like Arcade Fire, what does that leave them to do? Their new album “Reflektor” answers that question.
As soon as the beat kicks in on the opening track and first single, “Reflektor,” it is clear the band is taking their sound in a new direction.
Arcade Fire brings us their most danceable and groovy album yet. But don’t mistake this for the band selling out to the radio, since the compilation features some of their longest songs yet, with the musicians skillfully utilizing the lengths to shift in unexpected directions at every turn.
The first disc of the album is the most easily accessible, with almost every song boasting a high energy level to accommodate the groovier rhythms. The second disc starts off with slower songs, with each track building to a climax of the album.
The closer is a fine song in itself, but the last six minutes of the song is made up of a bizarre sound-collage of different segments of the album played backwards. Playing a “reflection” at the end of “Reflektor” might be witty, but no one really wants to sit through that every time they get to the end of the album.
Lyrically, the album focuses on life in the digital age, alienation and the afterlife. The songs tone down some of the melodrama found on previous albums. Of course, Arcade Fire is still a band that loves to make big statements, and it’s difficult to not be moved by some of the lyrics.
Fans will surely argue about where this album falls in Arcade Fire’s discography. I say they have yet to top “Funeral,” but as far as I’m concerned, “Reflektor” holds up at least as well as “Neon Bible” or “The Suburbs.”
Arcade Fire has yet to announce a full tour for the album, but once they do, these songs will make a killer addition to their phenomenal live set.
Check out the music video for the album’s opening track, as well as the complete playlist below.
Contact Sam Owen at email@example.com.