This is a new regular feature for The Hillsdale Forum, taking the place of our “Professor’s iPod” feature of years past. Sarah Albers ran a music blog for several years before giving it all up to…study, or whatever it is Hillsdale students do that takes all their free time. We hope to receive many tidbits of smarmy hipsterness from our new contributor, and we hope you enjoy our venture into what will be, like, so overplayed in six months. When I’m not taking up space editorializing, this space will be hers to have her way with, and yours to look forward to.
If Arcade Fire does one thing well, it’s getting buzz going. For proof, look no further than what has happened recently: David Bowie appears in the video for the lead single, “Reflektor.” James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem) produced the album. Celebrity guests were everywhere the night that Arcade Fire appeared on Saturday Night Live to perform “Reflektor.” They even made an interactive music video.
Whether critics love it, hate it, or are just giving it a token nod in order to maintain their precious indie cred, everyone has been talking about the Reflektor campaign. Publicity started ramping up at the end of August, when the mysterious Reflektor logo began appearing internationally as street art. It then went viral. Arcade Fire confirmed on August 26th that they were the artist connected with the guerilla marketing by releasing the lead single and album art.
Now the question remains, though: was it worth it? The single itself is a sprawling, experimental track that reflects James Murphy’s significant creative influence. Arcade Fire’s original work was organic, spacious; Murphy brings a modern, more clipped energy to the table. The resultant style is not altogether foreign for Arcade Fire fans, but neither is it familiar.
As with all departures from formula, there are a few false notes. Some criticize what they see to be cliché-ridden songwriting. Others take fault with the vast and meandering song structure.
But despite this glut of criticism, fans and critics turn time and again to the universal accessibility of Arcade Fire. The band may have changed its aesthetic, but the message of the band is still the same. They are just as real and vulnerable and human now as they ever were.
Bastille rocketed from obscurity to number one status in under three years, supporting acts like Emeli Sande and Muse, performing at the Reading and Leeds festivals, and finally—and most recently—releasing a full-length album titled Bad Blood. This meteoric rise is certainly nothing to snuff at, but if you are looking for originality, you might be better off listening to someone else. The album, much like the lead single, “Pompeii,” is catchy, listenable, and insanely conducive to blogger buzz. Earnest act of artistry? No. Car dancing music? Absolutely. F
RAC remix of MSMR’s “Think of You”
Superhumanoids cover of NIN “March of the Pigs”
Beats Antique cover (feat. Charles Butler) of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”
Say Lou Lou cover of Tame Impala’s “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”
Phantogram’s new single “Black Out Days”