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As anyone knows who has heard anything at all about this album, it was produced shortly after members of the band suffered the deaths of several family members in less than a month. This clearly gives the album not merely its title, but a lot of its urgency and focus. The album doesn't, however, deal with death (like Lou Reed's LOVE AND MAGICK does, for instance) but with love and life. The heart of the album is the quartet of the songs that share the title "Neighborhood." They take up four of the first five tracks on the album, and each one is utterly splendid in its own way. I might have a slight preference for the first one, subtitled "Tunnels," but if you ask me on a different listening I might opt for another.Read more ›
Me, I'm some guy in my mid-30's who hasn't a clue what is cool anymore, or cooler-than-cool, but just tries like heck to search out interesting music by browsing the Web and trading suggestions with friends. And "Funeral" - which I only heard about a year or so after it came out - is one of my favorite finds in recent years.
This is passionate, beautiful, rich, yet catchy-as-all-heck pop music. It has touchstones in the past (to me, I hear Talking Heads and Sugarcubes, but this is richer and warmer music) but sounds fresh and forward looking. The lyrics interleave melancholy and regret with passion and hope so finely that the differences among these are obliterated. Check out "Haiti" - the only song with any overtly political level to it: "All the tears and all the bodies bring about our second birth" - and this is set to some of the catchiest, slinkiest, and most sensual rhythms you'll hear in pop music.
It's rare to hear such sustained inspiration on an album, much less a debut album. It actually brought tears to my eyes!
Rather than trying to hook you the way most songs do, Arcade Fire builds up their songs to a musical (and emotional) crescendo. The album opens on a four-song cycle called "Neighborhood," which deal with daydreams, neglect, fighting in a family, and just sitting around waiting for life to happen to you. All four things are pretty clearly considered disastrous -- don't waste time, make life happen!
Certainly that get-off-your-bum-and-make-things-happen attitude carries over to the wild "Wake Up," a howling anthem with an ever-evolving beat, and the well-named "Rebellion," where Win sings, ""Sleeping is giving in/no matter what the time is/Sleeping is giving in/so lift those heavy eyelids." You'll be emotionally exhausted when it reaches the wrenching finale, "In the Back Seat." And it does all this while making you dance too.
Most pop or rock songs are focused on "He/she left me/cheated on me and I'm miserable" or "I'm so in love." Don't expect anything so obvious from the Arcade Fire. These are about living life in general, not just one part of it. Why's it called "Funeral"? Partly the fear of dying without having accomplished something.
Musically, it will make your head spin. There's a blend of post-punk, rock, art-rock, pop, folk, classical, and much more -- like a punkier version of Neutral Milk Hotel or Modest Mouse. Woven together are xylophone, shimmering strings, swirling keyboard, piano, violins, and accordians. And they're all set to epic, crashing art-rock and disco rhythms.Read more ›
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels): 9/10. A nice lead in to the record. It sets the mood for the record. The piano is used to puntuate the stead drum and base line, while the guitars subtly push the song forward from the backround. A brilliant little art-dance rock medley, that ALSO manages to be epic. I know that definition sounds bizarre but you'll see what I mean when you hear it.
Neighborhood #2 (Laika): 10/10. Following the style of the first song, this song gets a little more intense and guitar oriented, and is even more enthralling to listen to. The singer is capable of expressing such sorrow and hope together in a single way that really expresses the strue strength of this song. it sounds pathetic and sad despite it being uptempo, and when it cuts off, it feels like you've lost something. Brilliant, and possibly my favorite on the album.
Une Annee Sans Lumiere: 9/10. Used as a break for the four neighborhood songs. It uses a slightly different, more airy pop styled rock. The guitars aren't as distorted as much as usual, and the keyboarding makes it very pretty. This song probably wouldn't be so astounding were it not for it's placement. Remember how I said the previous song made you feel empty? Well this one makes you feel better again. It's still sorrowful, but it sounds more hopeful as well. And the end turns into pure rock, because....
Neighborhood #3 (Power Out): 9/10. An all-out rocker. Again though, it's not abrasive.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the most interesting young bands out there, this album is fantastic, the instruments used give everything a unique and amazing sound. Respect.Published 3 months ago by Javier Puig
Superb 2004 release by Canadian alternative rock band: redolent with their signature sounds: dramatic, moving, mystical, and rousing. Read morePublished 3 months ago by BG
The first time I heard "Wake Up" I never heard of Arcade Fire. It was for the trailer of Where the Wild Things Are, I'm ashamed to say, but I decided to check out the band... Read morePublished 4 months ago by romevi
Amazing album. Great cost and fast shipping. Would recommend to all lovers of vinyl.Published 7 months ago by Er Bautista
Couldn't get into Reflektor but I love any other Arcade Fire.Published 7 months ago by Chuck Pheltnic
Arcade Fire's first album is an exciting, but also a bit dark, concept album about loss and growing up. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Morten Vindberg
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|What Music will they play at your Funeral?||
A Pagan Place by the Waterboys. Neighborhood #1 by the Arcade Fire. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. Once I Was by Tim Buckley. Hurt by Johnny Cash. Rebellion (Lies) by the Arcade Fire. Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber. Church Not Made with Hands by the Waterboys. In fact I want all my... Read More
Feb 8, 2008 by S. Ritchie | See all 17 posts
|These are true masters of music...||
I am been following arcade fire for several years now and have just purchased their music now, thanks to your post!
Your Funeral Guy
Dec 3, 2007 by R.Brian Burkhardt | See all 2 posts
|Help with Funeral Cost||
where do we get this help from, my mom just died unexpectedly and we dont have the money for the funeral
Sep 5, 2009 by J. J. Nietering | See all 2 posts
|Don't understand what all the fuss is about||
to Matthew J Gibson, The Clash, Joy Division, Talking Heads, Interpol, Leonard Cohen, Godspeed!, You Black Emporer...are you serious? Listen to any one of these bands back to back with Arcade Fire and you will see some similarities, but most of all you will see a huge difference in musical... Read More
Nov 14, 2006 by D. Mayo | See all 3 posts
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