Arcade Fire - Everything Now

by Jason Atkinson Rating:9 Release Date:2017-07-21

“wa-oh-wa-oh”

I was about to write about Arcade Fire and their supposed lawsuit over the “Millennial Whoop”. In this, they say “wa-oh-wa-oh” is, in fact, their intellectual property and should not be used by any other Millennial bands under pain of death. I thought it was true—for no other reason than a friend of mine on Facebook raged about it a few weeks back. Well, turns out it is all a lie—misinformation that is part of a vast marketing campaign that includes fidget spinnersKendall/Kylie t-shirts, and Ritalin cereal. 

Wow. This is brilliant and it all serves the underlying theme of their latest collection-- Excess. Consumption. Everything Now. Lies and truth and half truth and fake news and real news and sex bots and smartphones all blended into one noxious cocktail, poured down the throat by the folks in charge. How to even address these issues? Arcade Fire makes an attempt with an album of music that is stylistically all over the map yet still managing to hold together. 

And, damn you, Win Butler. What a voice. Such an incredible range, plus the wonderful energy and arrangements brought forth by the rest of the band, make it very easy to understand why they have been so successful. The opening song, “Everything Now” delivers with a classic build up that Arcade Fire is known for, but also borrows a bit from the 70’s—particularly Cliff Richard’s “Why Don’t We Talk Anymore” and Lou Rawls “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” with its strings and piano in octaves--soaring strings and creamy pan fluting oh my. 

“Signs of Life” pulls back a bit with big claps and saxophone stabs. “Creature Comfort” has a chip-tune back up with the lyrics “God, make me famous” and “on and on—I don’t know what I want.” It’s the sound of a musical group that has gotten what they want, has had the big gulp of fame, and can now grapple with the is that all there is aspect of it. “Peter Pan” has a crunchy, distorted vocal with an interesting reggae inspired hook using electronics. “Chemistry” departs from the norm, bouncing from jittery horns to quick Joan Jett style power chords. 

“Infinite Content” brings the theme of consumption to a fore, and, to my ears, seems like a positively fearless song; the music is not afraid to be chaotic and the vocals are recklessly overblown and distorted at times. Things are dumb and angry--the lyrics sick and repetitive with the phrases “infinite Content” and “infinitely content," which sounds like some kind of Logan's Run society battle cry. 

Then, there is Régine Chassagne, singing on “Electric Blue,” a Tom Tom Club/Grandmaster Flash/Blondie/Chic number that is driving and unconventional. The vocals are unflinching and, let’s face it, Ms Chassagne is an incredibly charismatic performer. I highly recommend the video for proof of that. 

“Good God Damn” is back to Mr. Butler on vocals doing his best Elvis Presley. “Put Your Money On Me” is another solid song, but not as successful as some of the others in terms of the buildup of energy. Finally, there is “We Don’t Deserve Love,” a massive song, so well done--probably an amazing closer to one of their concerts. 

You should probably get a ticket. 

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