Friday, November 28, 2014

Arcade Fire - Funeral

Arcade Fire - Funeral
Merge, 2004
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2014
Price: $7.50
There are a few albums in my life that take me back to a very specific time and place and sketch the scene with vivid detail. This is one of those albums. The hype machine had been churning Funeral for a couple months before I heard it, but from the first few chords I knew everything was about to change. I never thought the Arcade Fire would get as big as they did, and while I knew they had a ton of ambition, I didn’t know that their ambition was something that couldn’t be contained. For a band that released such an intimate debut, the grandiose trajectory their career has taken feels detached from Funeral. In ten years Funeral hasn’t lost a step. It still stirs up all the same feelings and really feels like the classic I suspected it would become. Sometimes records don’t hold up. You listen to them ten years later and there’s a sense of nostalgia. Funeral feels nostalgic, but it’s for a specific personal nostalgia not one of the era the album defined. The era of grandiose and theatrical indie rock that lived and died by its fierce emotional conviction. These days, I put this album on the turntable without even thinking. I see that cover and I just say yes. And there it is, and Win Butler singing about people digging tunnels in the snow that has buried a town reminds me of those pictures from Buffalo where people tunneled their way out of their snow-draped homes. On “Wake Up” I immediately recall Butler jamming the mic stand through the drop ceiling at the Jackpot and how that hole was there for years. Every time I went to a show at the Jackpot I saw that hole and remembered that Arcade Fire show fondly. That Arcade Fire was able to top this album is one of modern music’s greatest triumphs. Black Mirror was met with a bit of the chilliness that you’d expect coming off a masterpiece but The Suburbs won a goddamn Grammy. Which is nuts. Still, no matter how big this band gets, Funeral is always going to be the most intimate record I’ve ever heard.

"Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)"

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