Showing posts with label arcade fire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arcade fire. Show all posts

Monday, July 31, 2017

video review: 'everything now' by arcade fire

Well, this wasn't good. I could have called that going in, but hey, I was there in 2013 and predicted this trajectory and so many weren't listening and who's laughing now-

Okay, I'll stop. In any case, it'll probably be Billboard BREAKDOWN next, but I might have something else to finally get off my schedule first, so we'll see. Stay tuned!

album review: 'everything now' by arcade fire

Okay, in the modern internet age, especially on YouTube, it's not exactly a good look for critics to appear smug or condescending towards an audience. We rely on you guys, and I would lying if I didn't say I was grateful every single day for the growth of this community, be it through you guys who watch everything to those who support me on Patreon. You're helping enable something for me that's really exciting, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this channel could go.

That said, when I started seeing the reviews for Arcade Fire's newest record, with the sort of mixed critical reception the band has never really received, especially for the lyrics and songwriting, there was a tremendous sense of vindication that rushed through me - I'm not going to say that 'I told you so', but I am going to claim at least some credit for calling it. Because I was hard on Reflektor, partially for its sloppily realized song structures and lack of balance between its vocalists, but most of all for the undercooked themes surrounding an artist's relationship with fame and the smug, self-obsessed writing trying to explore and deconstruct it - and for a critic just starting out, that's the sort of controversial opinion that can cripple an upstart channel - even if eventually I wound up putting 'Joan Of Arc' on my list of my favourite songs of 2013! And while I will admit to never being a huge Arcade Fire fan, their first three records and especially The Suburbs do hold a special place for me in harnessing real wit and insight to temper the earnestness, most of which curdled in an off-putting way on Reflektor that reflected a band that has more ambition than the control or self-awareness to execute it well.

And while some of this critical backlash has been long-in-coming - for some critics thirsty for cred the knives have been out for Arcade Fire's pompous pretentiousness for some time - the reviews of Everything Now showed not just those critics getting an easy target, but also an audience who had been willing to excuse so much from this band finally hitting their breaking point - in many places seemingly for lyrical patterns that continued from Reflektor. So you can bet I wanted to get in on this, so how is Everything Now?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

video review: 'reflektor' by arcade fire

Man, I imagine this won't go over well. Eh, it happens - I try to be as honest as possible.

Next will probably be Thomas Rhett, then Toby Keith. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

album review: 'reflektor' by arcade fire

The year was 2004, and indie rock was experiencing an unexpected and yet very welcome boom, courtesy of the success of acts like The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, and a collection of other strong singles and albums, all of which would have mixed to diminishing success throughout the rest of the decade. The band that left arguably the biggest mainstream cultural footprint would probably be The Killers, with the success of 'Mr. Brightside', 'Somebody Told Me', and 'All The Things That I Have Done' off of their great debut Hot Fuss, but the critical crosshairs were aimed at a very different band that also had their full-length debut that year, an album that would be widely acclaimed as one of the best of the decade.

Yes, of course we're talking about Arcade Fire and their legendary debut Funeral (well, actually their debut was a self-titled EP a year earlier, but whatever). I have to be honest here, for the longest time I avoided getting into Arcade Fire because there were a number of traits about the Canadian indie rock band that really pissed me off. They had a degree of arrogant, humourless pretentiousness which got insufferable in large doses, both vocalists could get more than a little grating, and the lyrics didn't seem nearly as deep or resonant as they clearly thought they were. Coupled with Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne's disparaging comments on how little he liked Arcade Fire's attitude, it put me off from looking into the band for a long time.

But when churning through my backlog, I decided to give the first three Arcade Fire albums a listen, and you know what? They're very good, possibly even great, and while I stand by all of my complaints, I do think the band has some real talents in composition and writing irresistibly catchy melodies with a wide variety of instruments. And say what you will about their lyrics - hit and miss though they are - they do have a fair amount of nuance in approaching big ideas which I can definitely appreciate. Funeral did a shockingly good job dissecting how human beings deal with death, and managed not to get bogged down in the bleakness of it all - I can definitely see why it is critically adored to this day. Neon Bible opted for the 'dark sophomore album' route and while it was significantly messier, it did a decent enough job - although the tonal dissonance between the lyrics and the instrumentation occasionally got very questionable. The Suburbs was perhaps Arcade Fire's simplest album in terms of instrumentation and melodies, but it paid huge dividends in a surprisingly nuanced portrayal of suburban life and problems that called to mind the roots rock and Americana of the mid-70s - and on top of that, you could buy into the fact that the sentiments driving the album came from a very real place (in other words, it should be no surprise The Suburbs is probably my favourite Arcade Fire album). So with that, I was a little encouraged going into their new album Reflektor, even despite the mixed critical opinions. How did it turn out?