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Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire (photo by Guy Aroch, PR)

Arcade Fire (photo by Guy Aroch, PR)

by

Arcade Fire
Everything Now
Columbia

When it comes to Arcade Fire, the one thing we’ve come to expect is that we don’t know what to expect. Since their debut album, Funeral, was released in 2004, Arcade Fire's ascension to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world has been built upon their willingness and ability to change and evolve.

With each evolution and new release, they don’t just call your bet, they go all in. Unsurprisingly, Everything Now is no different, yet it’s completely different. Built upon the buoyancy of the title track with it’s ABBA-like piano melody, the album finds the band exploring dancier sounds with the help of Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Pulp’s Steve Mackey.

But, this isn’t “just” a dance album, nor is it a continuation of the dance-y vibe of Reflektor. It’s got more groove and feels more natural. That usage of groove is most successfully achieved in the Regine Chassagne-led “Electric Blue.” It’s got an undeniable appeal and could just be the album’s standout track:  “I can’t get my head around it, I thought I found it, but I found out I don’t know s**t” is one of the best lines of 2017.

“Creature Comfort” blasts out with synth precision with lyrics like “some girls hate themselves, stand in the mirror and wait for the feedback.” Then there’s the punk sensibility of “Infinite Content,” contrasted by its counterpart “Infinite_Content,” with its more country-tinged feel. Each song echoes the line “all your money is already spent on it,” underscoring society’s need for everything all the time.

It’s easy to extract lyrics that feel special. A trademark of Arcade Fire is its knack for writing songs that matter to its audience. That may seem like oversimplifying the process, but it’s harder than it looks. As artists, there’s the creative side that needs to be satisfied, but Arcade Fire’s ability to do just that while speaking to the individual on a personal level is remarkable.

The real story here is the band’s insistence on pushing themselves and trying new things. At times, they’ve been both praised and condemned for that ambition. If Arcade Fire released another batch of songs that sounded like The Suburbs, what would be the point? Their knack for reinvention and creativity should be applauded. I mean, that’s what the biggest artists in the world have done for years, right? Everything Now may not be their most vital album, but it’s a hugely enjoyable effort that should sit well with the band’s legion of dedicated fans.