Review Summary: Just read the friggin' review alright?
Upon searching Google, I came across several reviews of Arcade Fire’s debut album Funeral. All of them bled universal critical acclaim, even being heralded as a “concept album”. Upon hearing about this, I knew my mother owned a copy, so I put it on.
Spare my soul Jesus Christ.
I will have to admit, the packaging is different- actually quite unique. Even opening song Neighbourhood #1 (insert random name here) is ok. It does what an opening track does: sets the scene. There is one big problem though. That the track sets the wrong scene.
The scene it tries to set is one that these critics are apparently getting at. Those apparent themes of runaways and families being brought apart are nowhere to be found deep in the pretension of the 67-piece “alternative” rock band Arcade Fire. I mean alternative as a secondary option for overbearing crap on the radio. Prepare for the nausea.
Oh no Adam! You mustn’t forget their influences. Yes, it turns out Arcade Fire are “influenced” by good bands and completely dissect their formulas. It evident in the second track, where Arcade Fire show how easy it is to rip o- uh, I mean be “influenced” by Talking Heads. And just how easy it is for Win Butler to scream exactly like- uh, I mean “be influenced” by Frank Black’s signature scream.
Instrumentally, the songs go absolutely nowhere. Except of course most of the songs which have the signature Arcade Fire thing: making a boring dire song suddenly faster at the end. It happens most significantly during a boring and painful song saved only by a fast tempo outro. That is quite smart. However, this is recycled throughout the album. In fact I have only one problem with this outro:
WHY WASN’T THE BLOODY SONG LIKE THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE?!
And perhaps even worse, I can’t remember most of the titles of the songs. That is a big problem for me. Ok, there are probably worse albums out there. But at least I can name some songs from those people. Honestly, I can. I know the titles of Lady Gaga, N-Dubz and all the poser screamos on Scuzz. But at least I can remember the songs. That’s called making an impression. Arcade Fire make no impression on me. They are just dry, dire, pretentious and obnoxious conservative pre mature musical rats.
Sorry, forgot to take out the word “musical”.
As the first half closes with, uh, that song that sounds like the other songs, we are greeted with the second half with- you guessed it- another dry, “meaningful” song. Win Butler sings like he hasn’t grown up yet, yearning such classic lines as “Please forgive me”. No Mr. Butler, not even I can do that. Then when you thought the whole song was the same long, dirty affair, guess what? It finishes with everyone’s favourite Arcade Fire Outro!
What a waste of my ears. What a waste of my patience. WHAT A WASTE OF MY TIME!
But no, I mustn’t end there. The irony is about to kick in. The following track is entitled “Wake Up”. Yep, that’s right. It’s almost as if they know it’s boring so perhaps this song could be the saviour of the whole album. No, it’s not. Sorry, but it’s the SAME SONG! But of course with a different title. For a song entitled “Wake Up” it sounds like Arcade Fire are pissed off about something. Or maybe they are just flipping us the bird. God, what rebels(!)
Arcade Fire truly know how to close an album, eh? Their last three songs, one of them consisting of a very coked up lady yelling “Lies!” over and over again, are- well, shall I say it again?- exactly the same as before. Oh, and that “Lies” song was a single. The radio has been scarred for life ever since.
But oh no, the real thrill is the closing track In The Backseat. This time the lead vocals go to Win’s wife (and often his fellow sadomasochist). She sings about, well whatever the hell Arcade Fire sing about. After a cheap outro with novelty 60’s strings the album is over.
The horror…the horror.
There are but a few albums that changed my view of the world. Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division and The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers did it for me; the horrors of mankind and the notion of alienation are within these timeless gems.
Everything they described in those albums, all the atrocities of men, come back round to Arcade Fire. Dare I say it Funeral changed my view of the world: now I know people could steep this low to make an artistic statement with no actual message.
Funeral? No, not to me. The title of the album doesn’t sum it up. It’s more like Postmortem Of Charles Manson’s Body. Now that would be a soundtrack for a generation.