Review Summary: I miss everything I'll never be.Funeral
features what is one of the most brilliant contradictions in modern music. Many family members of Arcade Fire had died around the same time, hence the album title. One could certainly conclude that this unfortunate surge of deaths had driven and ultimately inspired the unrestrained passion and ever-present emotive musical motifs, which soar and build like an orchestra, but are presented raw and as blatantly emotional as the minimal indie band they were at the time. This is backed up by the reoccurring themes of broken childhood memories and the place such events and past experiences had lead to. This is found in Power Out, where Win Butler vaguely outlines abstract recollections of the bleak, yet ever traumatic feelings of growing up in an involuntary independent environment and finding and resolving the proper feelings and emotions that a child could possibly perceive. The latter part to the formula enters as he shouts "Just light a candle for the kids, Jesus Christ don't keep it hid! Cause nothing's hid from us kids….you ain't fooling nobody, with the lights out!" over pounding wall-of-sound instrumental work.
And in the strictest, technical sense one could find that the music follows this formulaic theme of reflecting on damaged past events from an irrational present perspective. In Neighborhood 1, piano tinkering and a shaky, yet steady rhythm backs Win's nervous hums of a codependent childhood relationship and that same piano ends up melodically, yet aggressively switching between matching the rhythm and matching the dramatized musical crescendos that back cries of "Purify the colors, purify my mind!". Instrumental work like the previously mentioned song might lead listeners to look at Funeral
as a reaction to the various tragedies of the band. That's not to say that Funeral is dependent on any sort of formula or sound. Arcade Fire follow many musical outlets for their emotional incentive, from the rough percussion and shouts of Laika, to the minimalist, nearly ambient sound of the french-sung track Haiti.
However like most musical masterpieces, the ultimate atmosphere generated by Funeral
leads to a near opposite musical characterization than originally intended. One may find that each track tends to open with a light-hearted, Phil Spector-esque brand of pop production. While the sound portrays a feeling of secureness and the instruments are aligned and confident, the melodies convey a sound of unavoidable distancing. And the music follows so in a perfectly linear fashion, while managing to sound anything beyond generic. As every inevitable musical outburst occurs, the beginning feeling of losing touch, no matter how subtle it's original presence was, follows suit in the final conclusion in the building of anxiety. The songs ultimately go from innocent worries about falling out to an intense sound produced that signifies, basically, "Where the f*ck do we go from here?" These moments are defined by Win's shouts and unrefined collective singing and chanting. And the way these gorgeous musical occurrences juxtapose the focus of certain themes and grand productions ultimately make Funeral an album that relies more on direct feeling than most other revered indie albums could ever hope to produce.
If the children don't grow up,
our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up.
We're just a million little gods causin' rain storms turnin' every good thing to