Album Review

Arcade Fire miss the mark with ‘Everything Now’

There’s a lot going on with Arcade Fire and their marketing strategies that seem daft, out of touch and at times just trying to be edgy. However, Everything Now is separate from the billboards that promote it and therefore all the dress codes and fake reviews shall be forgotten about for now. Everything Now is the fifth studio album from Arcade Fire.

The album opens with Everything_Now which is part two to the single ‘Everything Now’ and it’s noticeably more listenable than the single, though this time they’ve nicked a couple of bits from Metronomy rather than ABBA. The fact that it’s before the song itself probably has some ‘cool’ meaning but there are only so many hours in the day.

Everything Now: The first thing everyone picked up on is the likeness to ABBA’s classic ‘Dancing Queen’ and while it is a clear link, it feels cheap in that context.  There’s a very 80s pop theme to it, verging into Fleetwood Mac territory also. It’s almost plain sailing with the gentle strum of guitar, especially compared to great chaos of Reflektor. The song is desperate juxtaposition of having ‘everything now’ yet feeling nothing. ‘Everything Now’ is still as danceable as if it were about butterflies and flowers instead, pan flutes and dreamy group vocals proving a distraction from the narrative of sensory deprivation.

‘Creative Comfort’ feels like a new ballgame. It seems like the band have finally gotten comfortably into their sound, like this is what they planned to be ten years ago. It’s easy to like the song superficially and it’s a nice addition to the band’s back catalogue, there’s a rolling synth over a bed of guitars which puts some groove into the song but then under the surface it takes a turn for the worst. The lyrics shoot all over the place, not really hitting any particular target other than that everything is bad. Basically, can someone come and pick up their dad, he’s rapping about capitalism again.

‘Peter Pan’ and ‘Chemistry’ are clumsy and (luckily) forgettable. ‘Infinite Content’ is a mess, it does little to inspire or to rise above the cynicism it portrays though clearly the band saw something in it, why else would they have decided it was so good they’d put it on the album twice? At least the second ‘Infinite_Content’ is less offensive to indie punk bands. The good news here is that at 47 minutes, the content here is very much finite.

‘Electric Blue’ is an at times an earsore and genuinely it’s sad to say. The instrumental to this song is a healthy dose of hip shaking goodness that are so easy to like but the vocals of Chassagne are strained. Where in the past she brings life to Arcade Fire tracks, here she just sticks out like a sore thumb. There’s such a wide gap between the rich groove of the instrumental and her hollow vocals that there was no way they would coherently merge.

‘Good God Damn’ takes back elements of older Arcade Fire that gave them a cult following, the elusive vocal melody of Win Butler and base synergy between instrumental and vocal, the simple things are the most pleasurable on Everything Now. ‘Put Your Money on Me’ is throwaway. ‘Everything Now (Continued.)’ does exactly as the opener does. Arcade Fire spend so long here talking about what they’re not, they’ve failed to mention what they are. Regardless of what people may think of them, Arcade Fire always make people feel whether that be for better or worse which in the world of Everything Now is something quite remarkable.

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