by Julia Clarke
September 19, 2017 | Arts and Culture
We’ve all read articles that are filled with ridiculous claims and unfounded facts about a hundred times by now. “Check your sources”, “Where’d you hear that from?”, and “Are you sure that’s real?”. Similar questions come up every time we try to talk about what’s going on the world. Having a reliable source of information is becoming more and more difficult in the age of social media, where the main goal is to get your information as fast as possible.
Canadian indie rock band, Arcade Fire, have become all too familiar with this. Like many other bands who released music critiquing the state of the world right now (Gorillaz, A Tribe Called Quest, Run the Jewels, to name a few…) Arcade Fire’s most recent album, Everything Now, teases themes of consumerism, overstimulation, and bittersweetness of modern technology; all through using ABBA-like piano melodies and even a pan flute to bring an upbeat sensation to the sarcastic lyrics.
The band’s entrance onto the stage was a unique one; as a cheesy announcer’s voice boomed throughout the arena, the band members ran through the crowd, decked-out in classic boxing robes, while their stats for their boxing alter-egos flashed on the big screen. They played all their fan favourites, including Rebellion (Lies), Ready to Start, and Reflektor. Towards the end, the band took the time out of their performance to bring the audience’s attention to the certain issues in the world at the moment; the political climate of the United States as well as the people suffering due to the natural disasters that have been heavily hitting the south of the US and the Caribbean. The show came to a close after the band played Everything Now a second time, and a big “Thank you!” to their hometown for all the support throughout the years.
The title track and first single off the new album, Everything Now, speaks on the consequences of having so much information available to us: lead singer Win Butler sings “Every inch of space in your head / Is filled up with the things that you read / I guess you’ve got everything now”. Other songs on the album include similar themes, seen in songs like “Infinite Content” and “Put Your Money On Me”. Unfortunately, the main criticism revolving around their most recent music is that the band continues to become more and more political (as are many artists, in order to stay relevant); many of their listeners find that it’s taking the fun out of their favourite songs. This isn’t restricted to Arcade Fire however. Recent criticism amongst the latest music shows that people are losing interest when artists are forcing all forms of art to have a certain message.
Through unreliable sources and clickbait websites, we can find ourselves clicking the catchiest headline, often skipping the fact-checking step and go on to talk about important issues with all the wrong information. Worse yet, people base their political views and sometimes even morals on information that has absolutely no facts to support it; the Montreal-based band uses their platform to speak out about the matter, among others.
Arcade Fire does an incredible job demonstrating the ridiculousness of it all. As you take your first step into the concert venue, you’re immediately blinded by informercial graphics beaming from the jumbotron, advertising ridiculously priced merchandise ($120 fidget spinners anyone?) and fake news casts about the band members. These satirical promotions were all part of the promotional campaign that preceded the release of their fifth studio album. Many were enraged by the cost of hoodies (up to $2000) while others caught on and praised the band for their wit.
Although many critics have claimed that their most recent album has gone “too far” or a “disco-tinted mess of an album”, we can’t ignore the incredible music talent that is found within all their music, and the way the band always has fun with it, regardless of how it might turn out for them. I mean, you can try to sell over-priced fidget spinners when you’re one of the greatest indie rock bands of the 00s, right?