Speaking of Arcade Fire

Jonathan McLeod

September 28, 2010 | 4 Comments

A propos of Scott’s post below, I thought I’d share this review of Arcade Fire‘s most recent album by Matt Feeney at The American Scene.  Here’s the opener, which is more a commentary on pop commentary than on the band:

I’ve been slowly working my way into the newish Arcade Fire album, “The Suburbs,” and every listen is a process of what you might call letting go. That heavy thematic foreground – um, suburbs? Are you really going to talk about the evils of suburbs for a whole album? – is a problem for somebody who, though not very fond of suburbs as a place to live or get stuck in traffic in, genuinely loathes suburbia as a target of satire and smug critical harangues. I also suspect that my loathing of the the critical trope “suburbia” has become so widely shared (I mean, everyone hates American Beauty by now, right?) as to have emerged as a tired counterpart to the suburbia trope itself – which doesn’t let Arcade Fire off the hook; it just means the topic is so overworked that saying it’s overworked is also overworked.

And, in the spirit of closure, here are the two fabulous final sentences:

In that moment, I realize that my allegiance to Arcade Fire has been a fragile construct built on a combination of anxiety that they had it in them to say such a thing and relief that they had miraculously avoided saying it so far. But now that they’ve said it, so doggedly, so willfully, I can’t help thinking it’s what they’ve been trying to say all along.

Read the whole thing if you’re interested in pop culture.


4 Responses to “Speaking of Arcade Fire…”

  1. Scott H. Payne
    September 28th, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

    Yeah, as a studio band, I still think The Arcade Fire are good but not mind blowing. Though, as mentioned, I haven’t listened to anything from The Suburbs yet. But as a live band, they really, really impressed me. Over the long haul, my own experience is that a band that can blow you away live is going to have more durability and influence than one that is a really great studio band. Though, of course, the true legends invariably do both.


  2. balbulican
    September 28th, 2010 @ 6:50 pm

    I don’t really have the patience to go and read the entire review, based on the extracts – not a word about the actual music, lyrics, or performance, but two paragraphs of hang-wringing neuroses about the difficulty of determining what a sophisticated critic SHOULD be thinking about them.

    Jayzuz. It’s only rock and roll.


    Jonathan McLeod Reply:

    Well, that’s partially the nature of the site, it’s also the lines I liked the best… I also didn’t want to give anything away.


    Jonathan McLeod Reply:

    Sorry, I obviously should have responded:

    …but I like it.


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