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 Scott Creney

Arcade Fire – Reflektor (Merge)

Arcade Fire – Reflektor (Merge)
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By Scott Creney

CB buddy Chris Weingarten summed up this album pretty well a month ago when he tweeted that Reflektor sounds like NYC 10 years ago. And this guy in the Washington Post captures about half of what I’m thinking. I’m remembering a line in an old book somewhere that said there were two kinds of music fans–those who knew a little about music and loved U2, and those who knew a little bit more and couldn’t stand them. But not even U2 had a vocalist who could make my shoulders clench as painfully as the righteous bleatings of Win (or is it Winn? I’m not looking it up–fuck it) do.

And I’ve got better things to do than sit around listening to 75+ minutes of this plodding anthemic emptiness. I’ve heard the first two singles–watched the SNL and post-SNL thing in its entirety–to know that this album is, ultimately and unforgivingly, boring as shit. If anything, they’ve gotten more boring, which is some kind of achievement I guess. You don’t need me to insult this record. You’re perfectly capable of doing it yourselves. This record is, contra Wylie, the easiest of targets, the lowest of low-hanging fruit.

Besides, reviewing Arcade Fire is beneath me. I’m finishing up the final edit of my next book, Right In Front, and since it’s a hell of a lot more interesting/entertaining than anything Arcade Fire will ever come up with, I’ve gone ahead and posted the first chapter on the next page. Because you deserve something out of this life. And because I’m kind of an asshole.

(continues overleaf)

Pages: 1 2

8 Responses to Arcade Fire – Reflektor (Merge)

  1. Daz October 30, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Excellent work.

  2. Rory October 30, 2013 at 11:25 am

    My favorite album of theirs was Neon Bible, their second, which was the first of theirs that I discovered. It was SO pretentious and SO grandiose that there was something very lovable about it, and the production was overdone enough that I could put on headphones, blast it loud, and feel lost in it somewhat. It’s the only one of theirs I still go back to every now and then.

    By comparison, Funeral was this scrappy young thing, way more ambitious than it needed to be and super yearning in its desire to SAY BIG THINGS. The reason I think it’s dating as badly as it is for me is that, looking back, it’s no longer a bunch of young throbbing-hearts trying to reach out to the world; it’s a group working out a formula that will eventually let them play stadiums. The fact that dozens of indie rockers heard Wake Up and were like THAT’S WHAT WE NEED, EMOTIONAL CATHARSIS has not helped much, because it’s reduced what made them unique at the time into, well, that same formula.

    It’s been depressing watching them grow increasingly “ambitious” with every album, and realizing that their notion of “ambition” was as unintelligent and unartistic as it now seems to be. Sigh. Minus one point to high school me.

  3. Scott Creney October 30, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Ah hell, that’s what high school’s for. Part of me misses the times when I could enjoy something like, say, Midnight Oil (or U2, for that matter) w/o cringing a little bit. The more great stuff you hear, the higher your standards get, The higher your standards get, the worse mediocrity sounds. It’s a vicious cycle, I suppose, but it’s better than listening to Arcade Fire our whole lives. (And lest anyone jump on me about my use of ‘mediocrity’ as some kind of snob signifier, I watched the video of Genesis’ “Invisible Touch” last night on tv with unlimited joy–one man’s trash, etc.). Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Rory.

  4. Lee October 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I actually tried watching one of those SNL clips – the Reflektor one? Good lord, it’s so underwhelming. Sterile. All control. The sax ain’t sexy. And dreadfully trite – look, there are even black dudes playing the congas in the back (which is a totally lame beat, if you listen for it). Even the girl winding up in a prism is completely unoriginal – Ganondorf pulled that trick off YEARS ago.

    Brilliant chapter, of course.

  5. Tim Clarke October 30, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Hey Scott, I enjoyed your opening chapter. Nice work. However, I felt it lost a little momentum when you started describing Florida Keys and the various fast-food joints available to the protagonist. I think those couple of paragraphs would warrant some pruning. Just my two-penneth. Cheers.

  6. Nicholas Bellamy October 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    very funny. i enjoyed this review immensely, especially the bit describing your preference of the upper pool.

  7. James Flint November 16, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I don’t like U2 either. Let’s never mention them again.

  8. nope January 30, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I like your site, but here’s a summary of how this particular article reads.

    ‘This is what other people said about this album, that means i don’t have to justify listening to only 2 songs from it. Please listen to my extremely negative opinion derived from what other people said despite the fact that i probably didn’t listen to the album and even if i did i’m almost guaranteed to have listened through the lens of negative bias.’

    I’m sick of this meta ‘anti-hipster is the new hipster’ bullshit, just because awards ceremonies and above current radio latch on to bands it doesn’t mean they lose the ability to write good music. Its a sad thing when people can not longer just let music carry them away, instead we’re becoming defined by the unnatural pursuit of being opposed to anything that could bear slight resemblance to popularity. (‘Pitchfork like it AND the Grammy’s like it? That’ll put a ding in my cred!’)

    Articles like this breed that mentality, if your opinion is that you don’t like this album but you’re not willing to divulge any of the actual reasons why then don’t publish it your shitty opinion.

    Although that was an angry comment i love the site… so keep doing what you’re doing.

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