Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Artists I Just Don't Get: Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire - Courtesy of Merge Records
I've decided to switch gears at The Lost Soul of Rock and Roll and go from the song of the day format to an article format. I'd like that know what the faithful followers think of this format change. January is 'Artists I Just Don't Get' month, where I examine artists that have failed to impress me as a listener. This series will have an Andy Rooney kind of tone, so this is your first and last warning.

Let me state for the record that there is no need to examine artists like Creed, Nickelback, and Insane Clown Posse. We know they are terrible, so why waste time writing an article on their sad contributions to music? Let's move on to today's selection which is the Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire.

I've been a fan of indie rock for many years, so my article is not fueled by anti-indie feelings. It is my opinion that indie rock has experienced a decade that has been more disappointing than impressive. This article is based on my personal opinion, so I am ready for the angry comments. Come at me, bro.

Arcade Fire is my first selection for 'Artists I Just Don't Get' because I've never understood their popularity. I'm no stranger to touchy-feely artists. I'm not afraid to admit that I like Bread, James Taylor, or Belle and Sebastian. Sensitive artists are good for my rock and roll soul, but Arcade Fire does nothing for me as a fan of rock music.

My first exposure to Arcade Fire was their 2004 debut album, Funeral. A music related mailing list I was subscribed to was buzzing about them, so I decided to give them a listen. My local library has a good reputation for having all the hip albums and they had a copy of Funeral. 'Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)' was the first song I heard, and it left me with lukewarm feelings. It wasn't terrible song, but it wasn't a good song either.Take a listen below:

As I listened to Funeral, I realized Arcade Fire was more hype than hope. The more I listened to their music, the less I liked Arcade Fire. Why? There was too much whining. Yes, I like Bread and they whine in their songs, but they whine with style and grace.

Another issue was that Funeral failed to connect with me as a listener. Not every album needs to rock, but there has to be something to get my attention. The lyrics were nothing memorable. The music was fine, but they were layered with whine icing. A band can be emotional or whiny but not with every song. 
Now, don't start a list of Arcade Fire tunes I need to listen to in order to truly appreciate their greatness, because I've given them plenty of chances. Plenty. Neon Bible and The Suburbs did not impress me either. Why am I not a fan? I find the Arcade Fire to be an artist I don't get because they try to be something important, but the end result is they are more irritating than meaningful. If you need an example then let me submit Exhibit A to my case. I really like U2 as a band, but they also take themselves too seriously at times which makes them unlikeable. Also, some Arcade Fire fans are overly militant in their liking of this band, which also fuels my dislike.

The important thing to note in this article is that I respect the Arcade Fire. Although I do not like their music, I will not place them with the worst of the worst like Creed, Nickelback, and Insane Clown Posse. Agree or disagree with my statements? Share them below in the comments section.

TonyDoug Wright is The Lost Soul of Rock and Roll and is also the head writer and owner of Champion City Comics. Follow him @TonyDougWright on Twitter.  

1 comment:

  1. Hey! NOBODY in the US even knew that american roots music was until U2 generously told us in their revolutionary and thought provoking documentary. Most had never seen a black person before. Larry should have gotten a congressional medal of honor instead of your scorn.

    Your Arcade Fire opinion reeks of "everybody likes it so I won't" hipster-ism.