|Add Date:||2013-11-07|| ||Pull Date:||2014-01-09|| |
|Week Ending:||12 Jan||5 Jan||29 Dec||22 Dec||15 Dec||8 Dec||1 Dec||24 Nov|
“Reflektor” Arcade Fire|
Pitchfork has called Arcade Fire’s fourth album, Reflektor, “monstrously anticipated,” and I guess that’s what happens when your third album is the “monstrously” surprising winner of the 2011 Grammy for Album of the Year. As good as The Suburbs was, this ambitious effort may be even better. At 76 minutes, with 13 tracks split over two discs, it’s certainly longer. Produced by former LCD Soundsystem frontman, James Murphy — and inspired by a visit to Haiti where the parents of vocalist/co-front person, Régine Chassagne, were born — this CD takes the Canadian band in the direction of dance. But like with the Rolling Stones and David Bowie before them, Arcade Fire does it without losing their rock edge or unique identity — while also blending in elements of punk, disco, reggae, noise, and classical. The album strives to be a larger piece of art for the Montreal-based band, and I think it mostly succeeds. With so many densely layered tracks filled with thought-provoking lyrics, there’s something for everyone. This will undoubtedly be on a lot of the Best of 2013 lists.
Recommended: All good — but start with 1, 4, 12, 2, 9, or 5. No FCCs.
1. (7:34) Reflektor — Fantastic opener! Best fusion of dance and rock since the Rolling Stone’s Miss You and David Bowie’s Fame. Wait — is that Bowie contributing to the vocals? Why, yes it is. *****
2. (5:44) We Exist — Funky beat reminiscent of Billie Jean. Song successfully morphs into a rock and roll strut as it questions the meaning of existence. (I told you — BIG themes.) ****
3. (2:42) Flashbulb Eyes — Reggae beat and spacey effects. Heavily reverbed vocals. A bit of a strange mixture. **
4. (6:31) Here Comes the Night Time — Carnival time! Starts off at a gallop, then segues into a laid-back, dub-influenced, danceable groove. Nice steel drum touches. Kicks back into a gallop one more time before slowing again at the end. Great line, “If there’s no music in heaven, then what’s it for?” ****
5. (4:22) Normal Person — Starts with faux stage banter — co-frontman Win Butler questioning whether he even likes rock anymore. Then, of course, moves into a rock song with a Mick Jagger swagger. Noisy, fuzzy and great guitar licks. ***
6. (3:59) You Already Know — Bouncy bass guitar progressions with sharp stingers, snare backbeats, and handclaps.
7. (5:27) Joan of Arc — Brief, punky opening. Transforms into a rock song with a great bass line and an epic chorus chanting “Joan of Arc.” Outstanding vocal contributions by Chassagne. Everyone hold up your phone lights and sing along.
8. (2:52) Here Comes the Night Time II — Starts the more classic Arcade Fire side. Vocals float over a softer, fully orchestrated track.
9. (6:14) Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice) — Island rhythms return, but eventually make way for a shimmery and strummy song. Builds to a hint of some of the Beatles’ anthems with full orchestra and rich harmonies. ****
10. (6:43) It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus) — Complex, skittering rhythm drives a multilayered rock song. Chassagne’s vocal counterpoints add interesting flavor.
11. (6:03) Porno — Slinky, slightly cheesy disco with lots of synth finger-snaps. ****
12. (5:53) Afterlife — Uplifting, forward-looking, pre-closer anthem. Island rhythms again, created using snare and synth. Overall sound is more typical of Arcade Fire. A single. ****
13. (11:17) Supersymmetry (with hidden track) — Swirling synths and electronic bass. Reflective, airy vocals. Multiple layers of sound. Watch for 7 seconds of silence at 5:54 — following by a 5-minute play-out of rewinding tape sounds and noise. Think the Beatles’ Revolution #9.