Monday, March 5, 2007

Two Brief Notes on Neon Bible

the cover art of the Arcade Fire's album Neon Bible
  • I felt ready to write about the new Arcade Fire album a long time ago. Maybe before I'd even heard the whole thing. But I had to wait, not only until after I been listening to it for a month, but until others had listened to it as well. (The) Arcade Fire is a pop band, not in the sense of format or style, but in the sense of scope: their music gains its power and context by finding its way into popular culture in the same way an artwork gains its power from being hung in a gallery--their popularity is in many ways their statement, possibly even their subconscious concept. So listening to it earlier only gave me a preview, as the actual meaning could only be derived once I'd talked to other people who'd listened to the album: their popularity with a certain sub-set makes the release a small cultural event, and the event cannot be understood until it transpires. Until then it can only be predicted.
  • It didn't seem like much at first: in fact, Neon Bible is a bit of letdown on the first listen. But the horns at the end of "Windowsill" stick in the back of the mind stronger than the disco strings of "Crown of Love" or even the first appearance of Regine Chassagne's voice in "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)" ever could. It's a harder album to approach because it's more earnest, more heavy-handed, but these weaknesses also make it more endearing.

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