Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible is a beautiful symphony of passion, pain and hope. It also contains the artistic brilliance that made “Funeral” a great album.
With “Everything Now,” Arcade Fire tried and failed to be edgy in a frankly embarrassing way.
Arcade Fire, after a two-year break, is finally releasing new music again. And so, when the single “I Give You Power,” featuring the rhythm and blues singer Mavis Staples, was released, it was met with excitement.
On its stunning debut album, “Funeral,” which celebrated its 10th anniversary last Sunday, Arcade Fire spun the pain of loss (the album’s name was inspired by the pervasive familial deaths that occurred while recording it) into its childhood hopes and dreams, creating something that’s both deeply personal and widely relatable.
10. Mikal Cronin- “MCII” If 2012 brought a torrent of great punk and noise rock releases, last year was marked by emotional vulnerability. It seemed everyone, from veterans (The National, Drake, Vampire Weekend, Christopher Owens) to promising youngsters (Chance the Rapper, Kelela, Earl Sweatshirt, Autre Ne Veut), was determined to spill his guts for all to see.
It’s been a great year for music. So was last year, and the year before that. Next year will be a great year for music, as will the year after. With the seemingly infinite number of songs released every 12 months, there’s bound to be a number of great releases that find their way to the ears of casual listeners and critics alike.
Six years ago, Sasha Frere-Jones of The New Yorker presented the much-discussed argument that rock had lost its sense of groove. Since then, rock has become decidedly more rhythmic, with indie stalwarts such as TV on the Radio, Radiohead and Sufjan Stevens releasing dance-friendly albums.
Over the past nine years, Arcade Fire has risen from indie upstart to household name, culminating in a shocking upset at the 2011 Grammys. By taking the Album of the Year award from music industry heavyweights such as Eminem and Lady Gaga, the band established itself as a force to be reckoned with and unwittingly became the leaders of indie rock.
For a long time, it was practically a requirement for anyone who was into indie rock to like Arcade Fire. Every self-respecting hipster had a copy of “Neon Bible” tucked away somewhere. And leaving aside the paradox of being a widely known indie band, Arcade Fire still rocks.
Time will tell if an album holds up better than any award can. The best music, anyway, is a subjective thing to each of us—in the end, it comes down to our preferences and tastes, no matter what an organization tells us is the best album of the year.