Arcade Fire: WE album review – a 40-minute epic telling two halves of a tale


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Earning a reputation of tact and ambition, Arcade Fire have been widely hailed as one of the most prolific and recognised indie-rock collectives since appearing out of Montreal’s metropolis.

A rousing and experimental approach to music, they bait and tackle a corporate America with an idea of collective unity amongst those who have seemingly lost themselves in the sprawling spires of brutal working-day modernism.

For many, it is a concept in music that has thrown the whole book at our society, as opposed to just a passing comment. An idea that was seemingly lost on their 2017’s Everything Now album, too apparently. Despite scoring a number 1, the satirical ad campaign that went with its release fell flat for their eager Funeral/The Suburbs traditionalists – who don’t really enjoy seeing a rock artist having a go at rapping.

<Does that make us the best band in the world if that is considered to be our worst album?> Regardless which camp you’re in, hopefully you’ll be more satisfied with their sixth.

But with WE comes a more dutiful approach to their careful songwriting considerations. Breaking away from the grand ambitions of earmarking 85-minute double albums of 2013’s Reflektor and of course, 2017’s Everything Now, WE charts a cognitive change to Arcade Fire and their identity. Somewhat remembered as a once-bright spark dying out, Arcade Fire begin to connect the pieces again to what the greatness of the 00’s brought for the band.

WE is a more fleshed-out album opting for a directness in personifying a truly traditional indie-rock album that we’ve all been waiting for (on the lightning?) With rousing piano melodies from two-parter The Lightning I, II and momentous-moment Unconditional follow-up that fires me right back to the youthful complexities of Rusted Root‘s Send Me On My Way, AF have two-stepped into creating rife-and-ready anthem singalongs with a simple yet subtle thematic.

Made up of husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, they hone in on creating a historical juncture that couldn’t have come a more critical time. 10 songs. 40 minutes. The album is divided into two distinct sides. “I” and “WE.” The somber feelings of the first half evoke our anxiety inflections of lack of physical connection with Star Wars do-or-die mission End of Empire‘s bleak outlook as “it’s not half bad // spending half your life being sad.” While the second side captures the excitement of exploring new possibilities and connecting with others on a social perspective – without the artificial feeling to appease your mind (I’m looking at you Apple.) The huge pick-me-up comes with the The Lightning I,II dismissing the idea of just giving up and going for it – despite the unpredictable outcome (when the lightning comeeeeessss).

A true return to form reflecting both social and musical changes in the industry we see right now, WE is a mass improvement from Everything Now (f*ck season five, eh?) and makes me excited to see these giants breaking the sky’s limit once again.

//The censor can stop now, folks. Go listen to it!\\

4 responses to “Arcade Fire: WE album review – a 40-minute epic telling two halves of a tale”

  1. Tales from the Neon Beach avatar
    Tales from the Neon Beach

    Love this band. I can’t wait to give it a listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. manvmusic avatar

      Oh yes! Do let me know your thoughts as and when you do get around to a listen! It’s a fantastic album.


  2. Andrew avatar

    I’m enjoying the new album so far. I need a few more listens to give it a thorough review. The album’s name “We” had me curious. The word was a source of scandal and controversy in Canada in 2020. I thought perhaps they decided on a politically charged album.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. manvmusic avatar

      Oooh maybe! That’s a point. Although, after how well “Everything Now” went down from a political perspective, it may do them some good to steer clear this time around! Thanks for your words. I’ll look forward to reading it once you get to it:)


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