I Spent Most of Last Night Trying to Like This Arcade Fire Song

09/10/2013 12:15 PM |

Disco ball.
  • Disco ball.

There were times when I convinced myself I did&#8212″This dance-punk groove really digs in!” “French is a pretty language!” “Conga drums, man!”&#8212but each sentiment of goodwill were only momentary delays in coming to terms with the fact that on their fourth album, one of my favorite bands has maybe shed all my favorite parts about them.

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The way Funeral was such an elegant slap in the face to all the on-trend “The” bands of the day became one of its greatest assets in the mid-00s’ backdrop of everyone leveraging purposely unfashionable fashion and cool detachment as authenticity. With Neon Bible closely following Funeral‘s emotional scope and The Suburbs inverting the same feelings inward, I’ve always (perhaps unfairly) counted on Arcade Fire to go against whatever the trend of the day may be. Substance trumping style&#8212that’s been their thing. But if “Reflektor” is indeed a fair indication of the new album’s direction, as rumors lead us to believe, they’ve succumbed to the current state of whatever it is people are talking about at the moment, fitting in nicely with the very-2013, Daft Punk-charged disco resurgence. With producer James Murphy’s signature punk twist on the disco era, “Reflektor” is, to an extent, mimicking the same trend that Funeral slyly riled against in 2004, when the mainstream music press was still holding onto The Rapture as their saving grace.

On the other hand, no one wants a band to be stagnant and Funeral #4 would earn Win & Co. knocks for not evolving enough over time. Change is good! But I can’t help but feel disappointed that their Big Change is the default move of seemingly every other band looking to switch things up after experiencing success in their niche. Add electronic flourishes, make a dance record. We’ve seen it time and time again, from Achtung Baby to Death Cab’s Codes and Keys. In the end&#8212I clearly have my personal biases at heart when I say this&#8212but I’m not so sure I want an Arcade Fire record that works in party situations. I want an Arcade Fire record that makes me sad thinking about the decisions I’ve made in life, but then makes me happy at the crescendos.

The good news is that there’s a double-album worth of material on the way to prove me wrong. Here’s hoping.

Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.

2 Comment

  • Lauren, I think you might be disappointed with the new album. After all the album is produced by James Murphy & he’s taken LCD Soundsystem & DFA’s disco punk to Arcade Fire. And it actually works for them.
    For those, like myself, who get that “nu disco” or “nu house”, Reflektor satiate those who felt LCD Sound Systems folded way to earlier.
    But hey if your not feeling it , we’ll each to his own.
    Perhaps a remix by Juan Maclean or a guest appearance by Nancy Whang on Arcade Fire is not too far.

  • I feel 100% the same way you do, Lauren. I’m really hoping this is not a sign of a whole album of techno flavor. I mean… one thing that I’ve always loved is their musicianship and ability to flip a somewhat melodic pedestrian tune into an epic building crescendo by the end of the jam. I really hope there is some of that in the new album. This seems way “ME TOO-ish” with its electronic feel. Which I am not really feelin. Please d0n’t fail me favorite band! We’ve made it this far together.