Arcade Fire "WE" - Album Review
Updated: Aug 1
Arcade Fire's sixth studio album takes on sounds from the realms of art rock (as expected), but also hints of folk rock, dance-pop and more new-age space rock. A wide collection of sounds gives listeners plenty to pay attention to while at the same time, giving it all to the listener at once turning into some sensory overload throughout. As expected, this record is totally complete, with the 40-minute collection of songs encompassing a truly full and developed score of music, almost symphonic in nature. The songs flow together effortlessly and precisely, making this record much more than just the songs BUT (and this is big) Arcade Fire went too far in that direction, with most of the individual songs themselves being relatively forgettable outside of the album as a whole.
The Suburbs was a top 10 indie rock album of the last 20 years, leaving little up to debate. The Suburbs was able to capture the sounds and feelings of youth and did so as a collective, with the record itself encompassing more than just the songs. At the same time though, we got bangers such as Rococo, Month of May, Sprawl II, and Ready to Start to name a few. The songs held up to the record as a whole, whereas here, the songs for the most part don't. With that being said, WE has its moments with the opening track Age of Anxiety I, having some mesmerizing keyboard work towards the end building into the huge outro that takes you into Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole).
Other songs like album-titled closing track show off a bit more of the folk-pop sounds subtly heard throughout the record. A catchy and interesting enough song worth saving to your easy-listening, and folk-rock playlists. The Lightning II should catch listeners as a memorable track with it's abrupt fast tempo, tasteful harmonies in the chorus, and how could I not mention the wide ranging vocal talents of Win Butler.
I don't think anyone really has been expecting another Suburbs caliber record from Arcade Fire as that truly was a generational album, but I still would have expected to find more memorable songs on WE. The Arcade Fire formula for albums always produces complete, exciting, mature and space filling records, but it is equally important to make interesting songs which can be listened to outside of the album of as a whole, and the mark was missed on that point here. Pretty good album as a whole, totally worth the listen but don't expect to be coming back to many of these songs unless you're giving the whole album a spin.