Arcade Fire: Not Past the Feeling
Arcade Fire’s campaign to promote their excellent new album Everything Now was maligned by music journalists. The band released a fake news story instructing concertgoers to dress “hip and trendy” and a review for the album—written by the band themselves—dissing the record before it had been released. The campaign was intended to be a satirical critique of the snobbery of indie rock culture and the dangerous proliferation of fake news. The French loved it. But in the U.S., some critics felt betrayed by irony not associated with a band recognized for earnestness. However, the record has now been unfairly pilloried for the perceived sarcasm because Everything Now is as beautifully sincere as their first and most highly regarded album Funeral.
Playing in the round on October 18th at Viejas Arena, Arcade Fire showed us how the new bouncy disco track “Signs of Life“ is closely related to Funeral’s funky “Rebellion (Lies)“ by playing them back to back and had the entire arena dancing in agreement.
The band tied thematic discography threads together too. They played a snippet of “Everything Now,” a song that bemoans the way digital culture has numbed us with immediacy and followed it with “We Used to Wait” from the Grammy-winning Suburbs, a tune that romanticizes composing hand-written letters, not tweets. They also performed “Creature Comfort,” a new song describing how “some girls hate themselves/stand in the mirror and wait for the feedback” a moving piece about how celebrity culture imposes ridiculous beauty standards on women with tragic results. An encore song “We Don’t Deserve Love” is one of the band’s most poignant to date and the audience offered hushed appreciation. Arcade Fire remains a band committed to making listeners feel, and I was grateful to feel with them at Viejas.