Some Notes on Arcade Fire

So I’ve been listening to them a good bit this past week, and have therefore thought about them.

First, some friends and I were discussing their best album. I think most can agree that it is not The Suburbs, but more on that album later. Initially, I claimed that Funeral was the best, but I think I may have to rescind, and go with Neon Bible.

I bought Neon Bible sometime in 2007, knowing it was supposed to be good. I listened to it for a week or so, but just didn’t get it. I think it must have been sometime in 2009 or so that it finally hit me. I eventually bought Funeral, I think several months before The Suburbs came out. I feel like the first two albums were my favorite Arcade Fire albums, as they were purchased. I noted the greatness of The Suburbs, but it has not been at the top of the list ever.

Neon Bible I think is my favorite now. It is so dark and eerie. For a while it was just Keep the Car Running, No Cars Go, and  (Antichrist Television Blues), but then I really discovered Ocean of Noise and Windowsill. Those lines, “A house on fire, a rising sea,” creep me out big time. Funeral has its merits for sure, I mean Haiti is my top-played song in iTunes at the time of writing. Funeral makes me feel adult; like living and struggling in the city; a portrait of the life of a (non-annoying) hipster. It is a very urban album. I feel like I understand Funeral in my gut, in ways my mind cannot process and my tongue cannot pronounce.

But I love how dark Neon Bible is. The novel, by John Kennedy Toole, is a dark one as well. It’s been forever since I’ve read it, but it is diametrically opposed to A Confederacy of Dunces (which is my favorite book of all time I think). Anyways, the album creeps me out. Funeral is desperate, but hopeful. Neon Bible is just so black, so final, so… serious. Keep the Car Running I’d say is the best song on the album. It’s like the beginning of a dark and serious journey- perhaps like Sam and Frodo’s ascent of Mount Doom in The Fellowship of the Ring- a Hades-esque area; “the same place animals go when they die.”

I also love running while listening to Keep the Car Running. Especially at night. Especially the “Oh’s” at 1:45.


Go running in the dark on an empty road listening to these Arcade Fire Songs, in any order:

  • Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
  • Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
  • Wake Up (When you get tired or want to quit)
  • Haiti followed by
  • Rebellion (Lies) (you have to dance like Régine while listening to Haiti though)
  • Black Mirror
  • Keep the Car Running (duh)
  • The Well and the Lighthouse
  • (Antichrist Television Blues)
  • No Cars Go
  • Ready to Start
  • City with no Children
  • Half Light II (No Celebration) (those drums? Man, what a great song!)
  • Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) (This is why you run. You do not live to just punch the clock.)

*I assume no responsibility if you go running at night with headphones on!

Lastly, and this is kind of a corollary to my earlier post about “The Supreme Being of Pop” (thanks again, Rachael Maddux) seeking to destroy Indie. This is going to sound a little crazy, but let’s assume that The Supreme Being of Pop exists; could the Album of the Year Grammy have been awarded to Arcade Fire as an attempt to buy them out? Like sycophancy. “Whoever flatters a neighbor is spreading a net for the neighbor’s feet,” says Proverbs 29:5. Arcade Fire’s nomination for The Suburbs seemed token. We know that it was not their pinnacle work. They lost both times previously to the media friendly White Stripes. Could some force be trying to buy Arcade Fire’s heart?

I don’t really believe the above paragraph, but it’s interesting to think about. I think Arcade Fire has their heads and wits about them enough though to weather this new pseudo-popularity. And I am glad they won, they deserve it. Plus, it was fun to watch musical know-nothings squirm (see this).

Anyways, that’s all for this one.  What is your favorite Arcade Fire song/album?

This entry was posted in Album Review, Favorite Songs, Music, Observations, Running and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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