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.

Comments

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.

    [Reply]

  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.

    [Reply]

    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.

    [Reply]

    Jonathan McLeod Reply:

    Sorry, I obviously should have responded:

    …but I like it.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply





Subscribe to our feed

Subscribe to our comments

Search

About the Commons

The Commons has brought together a diverse cross-section of unique and intelligent voices to generate meaningful debate and discussion. All contributors have made the solemn commitment to cultivate respectful, honest, vigorous, and open dialogue—and to promote that very kind of dialogue within the larger Canadian political discourse.