Being the undisputed second-best indie / college / progressive / alternative band ever, (The) Arcade Fire is coming to Jazzfest. I had written off Jazzfest after the ticket prices went up and the beers started costing five bucks (for a fucking Miller Lite). Plus, those are big days at the Square and if I’m not making money I’m losing it so there is an added cost there. But this year they pulled a fast one and wrangled The Decemberists and (The) Arcade Fire so they got me back one last time in a non-art selling capacity.
Here are ten great songs by (The) Arcade Fire…
“Wake Up” from Funeral
I guess all Arcade Fire lists, articles, discussions should include “Wake Up” their most crucial and defining song. Epic. Anthemic. Anguished. “Wake Up” is all these things. It is a relentless, driven portrait of a souls’ descent from youthful exuberance to a bitter and woeful maturity. It is about all the broken promises and all the scuttled dreams of all the youths in all of us. And yes, it ends in death.
And some of us may remember it was used as background music for this NFL commercial the year the Saints went to the Super Bowl…
“Haiti” from Funeral
A simple two-chord song written by Régine Chassagne for her former homeland. Some lyrics used to decorate the top of The Chicory in the years after the storm.
“Neighborhood #2 (Laika) from Funeral
Named after the cutest dog who was ever burned up in space by the Russians. The song uses the dog’s one-way mission to symbolize an older brother running away from home presumably, like Laika, never to return.
“Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)” from Funeral
The conclusion of the four “neighborhood” songs from Funeral uses bowed strings and guitar to bring the series to its plaintive conclusion.
“Crown of Love” from Funeral
Starts slow, sparse, deliberate and pleading then builds to frenzied desperation with growing instruments and vocals.
“Intervention” from Neon Bible
Their second album had nothing but a name in common with John Kennedy Toole’s unfinished novel. Pipe organ intro and Chassagne backing vocals are intense on the lead track that adeptly increased the anticipation of the incoming album.
“Keep the Car Running” from Neon Bible
A fantastic driving song that bears striking resemblance to this song from Eddie and the Cruisers.
“My Body is a Cage” from Neon Bible
Perhaps the most despondent Arcade Fire and that’s saying a lot.
“Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) from The Suburbs
I have a tendency to favor songs that feature Chassange on vocals but the spirit and theme of Sprawl II is one that many of us can rally behind. The suburbs are an expanse of conformity and assimilation, within them are the undiscovered artists and geniuses of our world who may or may not ever unfurl. “Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock.”
“City With No Children” from The Suburbs
Another uplifting number from the band’s Grammy-winning album that many feel was their third-best effort. Though The Suburbs was truly an amazing disc with a clear and distinct theme throughout.