Amazon.ca Widgets ALBUM REVIEW: Arcade Fire – Everything Now – Rithyms
Review Rock

ALBUM REVIEW: Arcade Fire – Everything Now


Favourites: Creature Comfort, Electric Blue


      Whoa, didn’t know Abba was still making music!! heh…just kidding. (The jokes already old I know, just had to retort). Okay.  Anyways. This new Arcade Fire album here, “Everything Now” is the band’s long awaited return to relevancy since releasing their shadowy dance departure album: “Reflektor” in 2013. Reflektor showed a lot of evolution in the band’s sound, floating away from their usual arena indie-rock anthems, (i.e. Wake Up, Keep the Car Running, We Used to Wait, etc.) and coming out with these toned down, simple, to the point dance tracks on Reflektor (with a few small exceptions). Reflektor had a cool unique-ness to it in my opinion, with songs like “Porno”, the transcending title track “Reflektor” with tons of colourful layers progressively added on within the track, and the nostalgic/euphoric “Afterlife” with a beautiful and infectious chorus.

    “Everything Now” follows this catchy, to-the-point dance theme that was introduced in Reflektor, but incorporates this dated, flat disco electronica element into the mix that ultimately leaves the album with a lot to be desired, given the band’s legendary discography. This album sparks a lot of interesting concepts for the listener to decipher however, which kept me entertained throughout the play-through, regardless of how I felt about the music itself.  Also, this album was co-produced by both Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk, and Pulp’s bassist Steve Mackey, so you can definitely hear how they helped changed the direction of Arcade Fire’s sound within this project. A lot more electronica elements, and a ton of glorious satirical cheese that had my eyes rolling more frequently than an energetic hamster runs on its wheel.

The album includes a neat little “infinite loop” that allows you to listen to this album over and over again seamlessly with two songs titled “Everything Now (continued)” on both the beginning and ending of the track list. It’s some creative symbolism playing on the meaning behind the title track “Everything Now” which is a heavily Abba influenced disco track about the ubiquity of everything you have ever experienced in life, and how everything affects every decision/choice you make in life…super deep right? It actually kind of makes sense when Win Butler describes it:

“There’s sort of an everything-nowness to life. I feel like almost every event and everything that happens surrounds you on all sides. Some of it is fake and some of it is real and some of it is trying to sell you something and some of it is profound. Every moment of everything refracts into a thousand different things. It’s trying to capture some of the experiences of being alive now in all its flaws and all its glory.”

The next track, “Signs of Life” has been stuck in my head ever since I started listening to this album, It’s a very mediocre dance track, but that chorus is so damn catchy, and it has a great message behind it so I cant really say I hated it. The song’s about adolescence, “cool kids” going out each weekend to parties, night clubs, bars, etc. trying to find connections or “Signs of Life” so they can have one night stands, make false drunken mistakes, spend tons of money, just to do it all over again on their next weekend. A topic that has been touched on many times, but in this case it perfectly ties in with the theme of the album.

“Creature Comfort” is probably my favourite tune on here, I love the layers of synth and the baton passing vocals between Win and Regine. The song uses “Creature Comfort” as a product that could be anything you buy to give you false hope & comfort, such as a brand new Apple Watch. “God make me famous, if you can’t, just make it painless”, lovely word-play here.

Okay, around this section of the album is where I really started to tune out of the album, the songs seemed a bit forced and uninspired and just felt like a way to fill in the rest of the track list, of course this is just my opinion, but the songs “Peter Pan” and “Chemistry” are just hard to get through. “Chemistry” features this awkward hair-metal esque chorus that is sung in the role of a guy who thinks he has chemistry with a girl that obviously doesn’t feel the same way, especially since she already has a girlfriend: ” Dance with your boyfriend all night long, tell him you really really love his song, close your eyes, it’s me you’re gonna see there ain’t no way to fake it”. Yeah, I got nothing out of this track but its fun and playful I suppose.

In the middle of the album we get these two mirror tracks both titled “Infinite Content“, where basically Win just sings the words “Infinite Content” for 3ish minutes total. The first version is a fast, almost punk themed song and the second is a country ballad, both dealing with the whole consumerism theme of being “infinitely content” with the infinite amount of things we can buy to give us the false sense of well-being and individualism, when in reality none of these objects will truly make a person happy. Again, a great theme for a song, but poorly, poorly executed instrumentally…there’s just no passion in these songs!! It really sucks because I really want to like this album, but I just don’t see any replay value within most of these tracks.

But wait! there is a little more hope provided on this album, with Regine’s mostly solo track “Electric Blue“. Always liked the solo tracks of Regine, such as the infamous “Sprawl II”, it adds a nice variety in vocal tone with Win on most of Arcade Fire’s tracks. The fizzy synths and pads that follow Regine’s harmonies are wonderful on the ears, and Steve Mackey provides a warm secondary bass line in the latter of the track. His bass talents are also shown on the funky “We Exist” copycat, “Good God Damn” which is a song that alludes to the girl in “Creature Comfort”. The song is about a person having suicidal thoughts, and looking up to a God, questioning: “Maybe there’s a good God…damn.” This song is…eh, it’s okay, not the worst on the album that’s for sure.

 

On “Put Your Money On Me” we get hit with some more ABBA, 80s like melodies, with a constant shuffle beat over this arpeggiated bass loop. Its yet another song about the negative effects of being a consumer, spending money  and being trapped in the endless, promising American Dream that all of us want so badly without even realizing the bigger picture. The last track “We Don’t Deserve Love” was a nice somber way to end the album, melancholic pads going in and out of audible space, actually, it put me right to sleep. I had some lovely dreams and woke up feeling nice and refreshed thanks to this song, thanks you guys, for that.

Alright, so all jokes aside I do really like the concept of this album, I think “Everything Now” provides great messages for the general public, but it’s just the way that the band presented these tracks musically that just seems super lifeless to me, I get that the sound itself is supposed to fit in with the satirical/ironic elements behind what they’re talking about, but guys…we already got our ABBA’s! Arcade Fire’s discography has plenty of originality, and I do deeply enjoy their first three albums “Funeral”, “Neon Bible”, and “The Suburbs” because they took me to places that no other band could. I just think these guys could’ve made a much more cohesive album with the “Everything Now” morals if they just approached it like they did with their classics that got them to the celebrity, mainstream success that they’re at now.

What did you guys think of the album, i’d love to hear your opinions! Just leave a comment below, or visit our Facebook page (facebook.com/rithyms) and drop us a line.

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  • Steven Bailey
    July 30, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    7.5/10 for me, really good album. Just not as good as the first four.

    • Connormorley
      July 30, 2017 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks for the input! appreciate it.

  • Jim
    July 30, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    I really like this review but I think 4.5/10 is a ridiculous grade. You might be comparing it too much with their older albums. To someone that doesn’t know AF and hears this little piece of art it must be sounding crazy good, I reckon. I do agree with you that it is their least album though (and that is from someone that absolutely loved Reflektor, which I actually feel like it’s their second best album after Funeral).

    Personally I still love this album and heard it about 30 times already. I love the message they want to get through to us with the main theme: that we have infinite content and we have it whenever we want it. It makes us really happy but because of this we’re never really looking for more anymore or pursuing our bigger dreams. On to the songs:

    Both Everything now (continued) songs work like a loop. When you’re done listening to the album you want to loop right back in it from the start. Personally I really like this and it is a clear message of over-consumption of content that is going on at this moment.

    Everything Now is a pretty solid anthem. Once I got used to the ABBA feeling I started to really like it. The ending hits me like a hammer (‘Every inch of space in my heart is filled with something I’ll never start: the ashes of everything now. I’m in the black again. Can’t make it back again…from everything now’). I am someone that most of the times find myself enjoying the (infinte) content like games, series and music. It entertains me but I never really put this aside to work on something bigger for myself. So I relate to this ending very much and I think, after singing about what Everything Now means, I think it is a brilliant ending to the song.

    Signs of Life, Peter Pan and Chemistry are ok tunes but that’s it. Unfortunately the lyrics of these songs are really, REALLY bad which kind of ruins them for me. I am just not used to this from AF. Lines as ‘Monday, Teusday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, sometimes Sunday’ and ‘Go to the city, go to the store. Ask for a loan from another bank’ makes me want to turn off that shit right away.

    Creature Comfort is a really good song. Although it is about suicide and really dark, I keep wanting to hear it over and over again.

    I can forgive them the 2 Infinite Content songs because it is clearly meant as a cynical way to show that we have infinite (often crappy) content and we’re devouring everything (we’re infintely content). It becomes even clearer that it is meant as a cynical joke when it is on there a second time, just in another style.

    I am a bit in between about Electric Blue. As a Reflektor-lover I really like their attempts at dancey music and the main theme (‘cover my eyes, electric blue..’) always gets stuck in my head Regines voice is just so damn high and thin, it is almost lost in the song. I assume this is on purpose but I am not sure yet what to think about it. I think it’s an ode to David Bowie, which was of course totally expected from them and totally justified.

    Good God Damn, Put Your Money On Me and (especially) We Don’t Deserve Love I think are really good songs and a beautiful ending to the album. Maybe a bit repetitive but nothing else to object on those 3.

    Overall the album does feel a bit short to me, especially compared to their other albums. Counting in the general idea behind it, the meaning of Everything Now, the clever tricks they used to get the message across (the loop effect and Infinite Content songs) I would rate it an 8/10.

    This certainly got a bit longer than I intended, sorry. I just hope it makes you appreciate the album a bit better now. The shit AF is getting for this beautiful album makes me pretty sad.

    • Connormorley
      July 30, 2017 at 7:29 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to share you opinion! Although my opinion remains the same about the album, I can see the appeal to people that thoroughly enjoyed the album, its certainly not an awful album, just wasn’t my cup of tea.

  • Jim
    July 30, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Did my comment get through? I spent half an hour writing it lol.