On Spec 5: Arcade Fire – Everything Now
Needing a wee bit of a break from all the metal (don’t worry, there’s more soon!), I thought it was time to try out the Arcade Fire again. I may be an odd man out on this one (I have no idea, lemme know in the comments), but this group’s work hasn’t ever done much for me. I’m willing to keep trying, though, because I feel like I should like them, somehow, ya know? Anyway. I got this one brand new, still in the shrink wrap, for cheap. And it’s their most recent, from 2017. Someone didn’t even try it before ditching it. Should this worry me? Let’s find out…
The title track [after a wee intro bit called Everything_Now (Continued)] is one I knew from work, as it’s a single so it gets play on our piped-in muzak. I wouldn’t have known it was them, though. Anyway. It’s a breezy, 70s disco-ish track with acoustic guitar backbone. Wiki tells me it contains elements of The Coffee Cola Song by Francis Bebey. Signs Of Life (another single) keeps that light and airy dance feel, funky pop with sweet soul backing vocals. Creature Comfort, another single, is lyrically one of the coolest things about the record, a rant about/against the desire for fame. It brings the synths up front and moves us into the 80s. I liked the chorus bit “…make me famous/if you can’t, just make it painless.”
Peter Pan goes deeper into the electronic depths, throbbing and blipping with touches of sampled reggae (I think). Odd. Chemistry has a bounce… it wants to be an old soul song that married a ska song. It took a while to build, but it ended up not bad overall, with an alright breakdown section. Infinite Content ramps us up to some sort of weird 80s-ish punk, but with everything distorted and compressed and brittle-sounding. I don’t know if I like this or not. I just don’t know. This is followed by a slow country swing called Infinite_Content, a reprise that is a full 180 from its predecessor namesake.
Electric Blue (another single) is electrobeat falsetto vocal nonsense. God, it goes on for four minutes. This did nothing for me. Good God Damn is what I’m trying to give here, with this record. The track of this name is simple, a bit slinky, still with that disco by way of 80s chord changes feel, but way better than the tracks before it. Put Your Money On Me (another single) has a restless bassline and keeps us rooted firmly in the 80s with occasional falsetto and a beat people will want to dance along to, I’m sure. We Don’t Deserve Love is the atmospheric slower track, with drum machine and wonky synth backing. And the album is rounded out by a slow, throbby Everything Now (Continued) reprise of the opening single, strings and all (and a very abrupt cut-off ending. This wasn’t necessary at all, in fact it detracts from the way the album could have ended as We Don’t Deserve Love wound down. No one ever asks me if things are a good idea or not, though, so they go and do dumb ‘artistic’ things like this.
Looking back at what I wrote, I realize I wrote way too much about an album I didn’t much like. This is still not my stuff. And I’m not saying that just because the last four records I’ve played have been metal and punk, I just have never dug this sound. It feels all light and airy, all surface, no meat on the bones. I know they have their fans, and that’s great. I just can’t find anywhere to really sink my teeth into this album, well, except the lyrics of that one song, and that’s slim pickings indeed. I’m a bit boggled that this thing has five singles released for it. Whut. Anyway, I’ll probably never play this again, and it’ll be a long while before I try these guys again.