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Funeral (180 Gram Vinyl + Download)

4.4 out of 5 stars 504 customer reviews

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Vinyl, November 24, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Montreal's Arcade Fire brings a theatricality, an intensity, an insanity, and a penchant for amazing hooks to their debut full-length. You've never heard such energy, beauty, and emotion from such a young band. Now, Merge is re-releasing the Arcade Fire "Funeral" LP on 180 gram vinyl with a download card. Fans of Neutral Milk Hotel, Broken Social Scene, and Roxy Music's first two albums will have a new favorite band.

Review

Funeral keeps on feeling like the last of its kind, an indie record that sounded capable of conquering the universe and then going on to do just that. --Pitchfork

Funeral captures the agony and even ecstasy of surviving death all around you. --Rolling Stone

"The music - whether danceable, bittersweet, stately or avalanching - reveals added nuance with every listen --Blender
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (November 24, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B002WY64HA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (504 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,257 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Only five years ago I was somewhat despondent about the state of rock music. Relatively little exciting new music was being produced compared with previous decades in the history of rock. But the past few years has seen an explosion of really fine bands from all over the planet, not merely from around the U.S. and England, but in every area of Europe and, as in the case of Arcade Fire, Canada. Most of these bands tend to fall into either of two categories: back to roots bands (usually European, where they go back almost to garage roots, and bands that synthesize much of the history of rock to create their own unique mixture. Arcade Fire clearly belongs to the latter. Like a band like Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire constantly reminds you of other bands. Most frequently I'm reminded of the Pixies and Talking Heads, but almost as often I hear echoes of Roxy Music, Joy Division, or even David Bowie and Brian Eno.

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.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My impression of many of the negative reviews of this album - and some of the positive ones - is that folks are too caught up with how this band fits into a "scene", or making fine distinctions of cool and meta-cool (e.g., independent music that isn't detached and ironic enough should be derided).

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!
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Format: Audio CD
Every now and then, a truly original, groundbreaking band surfaces amid all the bland pop and rock. Montreal's Arcade Fire is one such band. In their glorious full-length debut "Funeral," Arcade Fire spins elaborate art-rock full of passion and atmosphere.

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.
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Format: Audio CD
Well, best of the decade SO FAR, but my point still stands. This album is magnificent. It managed to do EVERYTHING so effortlessly, and yet not make any of it gimicky. It all feels genuine. It's pure genius indie rock.

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.
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