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.