Arcade Fire changed their game with “Reflektor” after having released what would be already considered one of the Albums of the beginning of the decade with the release of “The Suburbs”. Both these albums, being their third and fourth set the bar really high to any type of competition existent in this area of Great Bands of Indie Rock. This year with the release of “Everything Now” they divided opinions among critics and have let down some of their base audience with more repetitive chorus and emptier lyrics directly related to their main topic of critic to capitalism and consumerism of nowadays. However there are not bands that manage to this transition from the more Romantic and Creative way of approaching art to a more political approach and many were the ones believing Arcade Fire has not delivered with this latter album. The Grammy Academy was not one of them, and they are now nominated for Best Alternative Album of 2017.
It was around Summer when my favorite alternative radio stations in Portugal started to play on repeat “Everything Now” as if it would be the new anthem of this millennial generation. However we are quite tired of anthems towards this topic and we rather action. More than that is a proven concept that nowadays the linkings are towards less repetition in music of chorus and melodies and they went quite the opposite way with this first single which made me get sick of it quite easily. Although it is not a bad song per se, it is clearly not their best work. And as this song defines the topic of the album and its name it also anticipates quite well what is coming.
“Signs of Life” brings back a spark of what this band from Montreal has of so special. All that jingle that makes your head go back and forwards constantly. The coolness of having Butler’s vocals aligned with perfect feminine backing vocals. Here one finds probably the only remainder of their insensitivity that we all loved from “Reflektor”. After this one gets quite shocked with “Creature Comfort”; “Peter Pan” and “Chemistry” with the latter two starting up with a reggae bit that evolved towards a messy conjunction of distortion. Even more surprising just the purely Punk “Infinite Content” that ends up as a cheesy song pop with absolute no lyric content. At this point one starts thinking if they are being faithful to their message to the point of producing lyrics as empty as society is today. Towards this theory of repetition and how they really want to impersonate this society the same song is sang in two totally different styles and numbered differently in the album.
My favorite song from this album for no reason at all other than the feeling it awakes on me of peaceful happiness as many songs of this incredible band tend to do with me has to be “Electric Blue”. Perfectly sang and the synth could not be better as well as way less politicized lyrically. After it just a sad mellow Indie ballad that again lacks for its repetitiveness with not a great message in “Good God Damn”. Finally they ask us to “Put Your Money On Me” even if they are loosing the bet which in this case I believe they clearly did by sacrificing good musical composition by something more superficial and repetitive like the society they intend to criticize. They end up admitting that “We Don’t Deserve Love” which is not fully fair, since this album is still a good piece of work but surely not what we as fans expected. Only now the next album and current live perfomances can prove us if this is a new direction or just a bump on the way to greatness!