I listened to pieces of the new Arcade Fire and was shocked how well this review by Chris Richards summed up my thoughts. Since I first heard “Funeral,” I’ve always thought Arcade Fire was pretty fucking milquetoast. Sure, there were hooks and singalong choruses, but never any energy, never any edge. Any time I tried rock my head in beat with something like “Neighborhood Whatever (Lies)”, I found myself half-heartedly nodding. Their stuff is never bad (arguably highly derivative of Springsteen, and now late 70s Bowie it seems), just bland. They were definitely an inspiration for my newer lyric, “Mediocrity rises up/overfloweth the cup.”
There is a larger argument to make here that Arcade Fire was a key in the transition of the term “indie” from punk and vanguard to safe music segment for upper-middle class white kids to differentiate themselves from mainstream pop fans/listeners of adult contemporary radio. That would take some time – never forget that music is always about class.
Why should you listen to this Chris Richards guy? Well, he was part of Q & Not U, which was edgy and innovative while dropping killer hooks, and some pretty offbeat lyrics.