When you think of the term indie rock, there is always one band that comes to the forefront of your mind: Arcade Fire.
For the better part of two decades, Arcade Fire has been blurring the lines of art and reality, especially before the release of a new album. While this is the case again for their now fifth-studio album, there was a lot of high expectations coming from the fans following “Reflektor.” There are some ways in which “Everything Now” lives up to those expectations, but even more in which it falls flat.
Arcade Fire is based out of Montreal, Canada, and can be traced all the way back to 2001. From the release of their debut album “Funeral” in 2004, there has always been a lot of attention on Arcade Fire. The band would grow and use this new-found attention to help further their commentary on the world with each subsequent release.
This all cumulated into what is arguably one of their best releases, “Reflektor,” in 2013. Four years have passed, and the world has changed more than we could imagine in that time. So when “Everything Now” was announced, it was more of an expectation to hear what the band had to say.
“Everything Now” is a 13-track record that clocks in at 48 minutes in length. One of the biggest strengths is also one of the biggest flaws in this record; it is going through an identity crisis. “Everything Now” doesn’t know what it wants to be half the time, and the other half of the time, it doesn’t want to be anything. It blurs the lines as much as you expect for something that is trying to capture what it is like within today’s society. This album isn’t creating a bleak or somber view of the world, even though that is impression one might get. The main theme throughout the whole album is that we cannot live without being in the know.
Musically, this is one of the easiest records to listen to from Arcade Fire. It isn’t hard to find something with a simple melody or tempo that is just enjoyable. There are a handful of tracks that really throw this record from its groove.
When you listen to “Peter Pan” and “Chemistry,” which sit right in the middle of the record, you get the feeling of the band trying something that they really shouldn’t. The latter of which is synth rock mixed with ska that is trying to be a pop song. It feels awkward and out of place just like a lot of elements throughout the entire record. Then you get some juxtaposition with tracks like “Infinite Content” and “Infinite_Content.” The first track is reliant on the electronic elements and the latter is reliant on acoustic, but both leave listeners in a awkward state after listening to them.
Lyrically, “Everything Now” has big ambitions but ultimately falls flat. This is a record that was clearly inspired by the social commentary of Radiohead, but instead of building off of that inspiration, it tries to copy it.
When “Everything Now” is trying to commentate on social values and society is when this record really begins to fall apart; when it tries to be a lifeless disco pop record is actually where it succeeds. “Everything Now” is just littered with so many contradicting ideals, principals and songs that it makes it more difficult to enjoy.
Should you listen to it?: Maybe pass.
“Everything Now” collapsed under its own weight within the first few tracks.
You can still pick and choose some songs that will be fun to dance to and enjoy, but when a lot of this record tries to guilt you into believing you are part of a problem, it is a bit of a turn off.
With so many conflicting things happening in just 40 minutes, listeners leave confused. If Arcade Fire could have stuck with one idea instead of 13 completely different ones, then this record would have been better off.
Collegian Reporter Alec Erickson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @CTV_Ace.