Since their debut into indie stardom, Arcade Fire has slowly grown into a worldwide phenomenon. After their artful, first two albums, Funeral and Neon Bible, the band flaunted newer and bigger visions on 2010’s The Suburbs, a gorgeous album from start to finish that captured feelings of youth and growing pains. It earned them their name as an exemplary indie act and a Grammy for Album of the Year.
Their rise to success has made them one of the biggest names in alternative music within the past decade. Since then, Arcade Fire has slowly acknowledged their importance within the industry, by producing bigger, bolder, and more ambitious albums. Until now.
2017 has Arcade Fire presenting Everything Now, their grand political statement to the world. Here, Arcade Fire is overly aware and comfortable with their status as a worldwide act. After all, it takes a certain kind of comfort for a successful band to be content with an album crammed with vague, political statements aimed at the “masses.”
Musically, the record shines in its simplest moments, such as on third single “Signs of Life”. However, the majority of the album is plagued by songs both musically and lyrically unimaginative, relying largely on postmodern platitudes.
Songs like “Creature Comfort,” “Chemistry,” and “Put Your Money on Me” don’t transcend their social critique and end up being gimmicky and tasteless at best. Meanwhile, “Infinite Content” is just one big bag of nothing (“Infinite content/We’re infinitely content”).
What once made this band so charming was its rustic chamber instrumentation that dominated their first three albums. The synthesizers they now rely on are perhaps an accompaniment to their global statements. The result, however, is a shallow and presumptuous effort.
Like many bands before them, Arcade Fire is a great example of how acclaim can affect art. Everything Now relies heavily on its sleek, futuristic sound and delusional egotism to make some grand statement without much success.
Everything Now’s overarching theme is that of an obsessive consumerist world, desperate for instant gratification, as evident on “Infinite Content” and the title track “Everything Now” (“I want it / I need it / Everything now”).
However, Arcade Fire fails to listen to its own advice, as it ends up presenting a vacuous record full of trite social criticism, hoping for success without putting much heart into whatever it is they are trying to say.
By Patricia Cardenas