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Arcade Fire

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

It’s easy enough to isolate Arcade Fire's musical influences (Bowie, Pixies, Talking Heads), but Funeral sounds like nothing and no one else. First of all, there’s the sheer bigness of the enterprise: we’re talking passion, of course, but also head count, an entire orchestra of indie urchins playing strings, accordion, keyboards, xylophone, organ, and guitar, the ferocious rhythm section holding things together each time they threaten to fly apart. Over the top of all this activity Win Butler’s anguished voice with its Ian McCulloch quaver yelps lyrics that are sometimes gloriously obscure, sometimes Up With People! Direct. Elsewhere, snow buries houses, neighbors dance in police disco lights, and unborn cousins haunt the dreams of Duvalier, while the music turns on a use of crescendo that’s almost shamanic in its intensity. With a last-minute tempo change the songs seem to take actual scalp-lifting flight; witness “Crown of Love,” which transforms from a swaying accordion waltz to the most unlikely of all disco anthems. Best of all is the death-haunted parable “In the Backseat.” Sounding something like Kate Bush possessed by the ghost of Francoise Hardy, Butler’s wife Regine Chassagne works her way to a wordless, grief-stricken wail only two-thirds of the way through, before the strings plink gently and gradually down to silence. Funeral is sheer rock-and-roll alchemy, inspired by death yet celebrating life.

Customer Reviews

Words cannot describe this masterpiece.

Wow.... what can I say that hasn't already been said? "Funeral" is quite possibly the best album I own. And I'm sure you gather that other reviewers agree. So instead of talking about how this album changed my life, here's a track-by-track summary. Funeral, despite its title, has a partial storyline about a power outage in a large city during the dead of winter. The children of the city explore the land and rule themselves for a while. (If that isn't beautiful in itself, I don't know what is.) 1. Tunnels- A beautiful epic opening, talking about how if "the snow buries my neighborhood" that the main character will build a tunnel to his lover. He then imagines spending a life with his lover away from civilization. 2. Laika- A "grower." The title is taken from the dog that the Russians sent into space (and it immediately died.) This talks about an older brother who went on "a great adventure" to never return. Grating vocals over beautiful string lines. 3. Une Annee Sans Lumiere- French for "A Year Without Light." This is about love in the blackout of the city and exploration. 4. Power Out- My favorite track. An empowering masterpiece, Win Butler (lead singer) sings about the power outage and the children playing around, while the adults "look for the light." 5. 7 Kettles- A great slow sad song with beautiful lyrics and orchestration. This is a great end to the "Neighborhood" series. 6. Crown Of Love- Another favorite track. What starts out as a heart-wrenching break-up waltz turns into a (majorly rocking) 4/4 beat, almost dance-y. An unexpected and triumphant end. 7. Wake Up- The name says it all. Choirs bursting with energy. All-out orchestration. Inspirational, transcendant, and spectacular. 8. Haiti- Almost instrumental, with a primal vibe just like the title. 9. Rebellion (Lies)- If you consider yourself "cultured" and haven't heard this song, slap yourself in the face. This song is about the group of kids staying up and not sleeping. Just hearing Win shout "Every time you close your eyes..." will make you smile. If you don't get the album, at least get this track. 10. In The Backseat- Win's wife (and bandmate) takes the lead vocals over this pounding and beautiful end to the epic Funeral. This band will have you coming back for more and more. Just buy it, loser.

And Then Some.

This album is brilliant. At First I didn't get it. But the more you listen the more it opens up. Like crawling through the dark into the light. Which is the way music is supposed to be. Not quickly digestable. This album is lush, layered, and romantic. It conjures up strange old days of mysticism, and magic. Victorian clothes, peacock feathers, curled mustaches, plaid overcoats, dr.'s bags. Very visual and visceral. A+

Incredibly good.

You need this.


Formed: June, 2003 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A combination of indie rock muscle and theatrical, unapologetic bombast turned Arcade Fire into indie royalty in the early 2000s. Originally comprised of Régine Chassagne, Richard Parry, Tim Kingsbury, and brothers William and Win Butler, the group formed during the summer of 2003, after Win spotted Chassagne singing jazz standards at a Montreal art exhibit. The grandson of famed swing-era bandleader Alvino Rey, Win was quickly charmed by Chassagne's performance, leading the two to launch a songwriting...
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