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The Arcade Fire - Funeral Review
Burn, baby, burn!
The Arcade Fire? A burning Galaga machine? Pac-Man Fever gone horribly wrong? A piece of shit indie rock band? Yes, no, no, and yes, though one may attribute the Arcade Fire's suckiness to too much listening of Pac-Man Fever. Pac-Man Fever provides an ample explanation as to why they wear waistcoats [only nerds still listen to Pac-Man novelty songs, and only nerds wear waistcoats], why The Arcade Fire is loved by idiots and ironic hipster pricks the world over, and lastly why I want them to be killed brutally by a bunch of humorously named ghosts. On the indie fuck timeline, the Arcade Fire charts slightly before Clap Your Hands Say Yeah but both 'bands' owe their 'fame' to the 'music' 'journalism' 'website' Pitchfork Media. The album I'll be reviewing for you [so you don't accidentally come across the album and think it's worth a purchase] is their first full-length, Funeral. The best thing about Funeral is the title as it lends credence to the theory that the Arcade Fire will burn out within 48 minutes and real musicians will bury them in shallow graves. Then in 100 years their corpses will be discovered by scientists as 'proof of devolution of our species'. Onward with the review!
THE BAND NAME
Let me start off by saying from an indie fuck standpoint, The Arcade Fire remains far and away one of the best named bands I've barely never heard of. Putting on my assfuck analytical head and my pretentious dickhead parka, the "The" in "The Arcade Fire" represents how in essence, in death we are all downgraded to articles, words like "the", "a", or "an", unimportant but essential words. "Arcade" references the band's forming in an arcade, when they realized their attempted careers of Mortal Kombat champions would never pan out because the members of The Arcade Fire are pacifists and you cannot win Mortal Kombat by standing there and not blocking or counter-attacking at all. And "Fire" refers to their passion for crafting origami cranes made out of fire. Brilliant, brilliantly stupid name.
Score: 9.9 [10 if Radiohead came up with it]
THE ALBUM COVER
As I stated before in my Clap Your Hands Say Yeah review, a good indie album cover needs to cast off the shackles of context and coherency and everything else good about the world. Well, The Arcade Fire has all that in spades with their album cover for Funeral. The image above only makes sense if The Arcade Fire was a] a professional group of ticklers, b] the Arcade Fire still writes using fruity olde timey pens, or c] feather pens somehow now have the ability to grow plant life from them. I imagine [my imagination is an homage to a Velvet Underground B-side] The Arcade Fire brainstormed up this piece of brilliance when their hired marketing guy/devout Satanist suggested something so indecipherable it crosses the border from indecipherable to brilliant, and indie fucksticks don't know the difference so why not?
If [though actually there's no uncertainty at all] Radiohead is God, then The Arcade Fire is one of the prophets worthy of canonization. Three miracles: how they didn't sell out yet, their album Funeral and...while eating pancakes and drinking heavily I saw a vision of The Arcade Fire in my jello mold. It turned out to be centipedes but close enough. Funeral musically is nothing short of a miracle. Oh, the deep recollections on death and misery, the use of a xylophone, I love all of it. It's like Win Butler came in my ear. But I love even more being seen listening to it. People say, "Hey, he's walking around town in pants meant for women, listening to a popular obscure band! He knows what's going on!", or at least I hope people say something to that effect. I love The Arcade Fire because they sound like a more lo-fi Radiohead. And if I can't listen to a new Radiohead CD every day of every year for the rest of eternity, I might as well listen to the next best thing.
Score: 8.9 [17 if by Radiohead]
A bunch of elves rebelling from Santa's village in favor of working as an indie act in New York City. Well, not really. The real story: a husband a wife team, a brother, some random instrument players, Montreal, and a lot of other crap. Conceptually, very keeping with the stupid indie crap M.O. Residing in country other than America? Score [other countries are chic right now, with Canada, Haiti and Uganda as the 'Hot's; France, Switzerland and Niger are 'So Five Minutes Ago', while Russia, America and New Zealand are 'not's]! Lots of superfluous instrument players? Score! Lots of superfluous instruments? Score, especially for the inclusion of the French horn and the xylophone! The idea of 'chic' comes from the idea of the most popular indie crap being the least popular crap. So, xylophones, Haiti and other useless things = chic. It's a very delicate process, which requires you to base your entire roster of interests on the negative opinions or lack of opinions of others. But it's worth it because inexplicably you appear cool!
Score: 7.8 [I'm doing this to be controversial and therefore cutting edge!]
I like to base the criteria for style off of how easily can I beat the band up. For example, KMFDM? Sascha would kick my ass easily. Therefore, not stylish at all for indie dickheads. Likewise, Rammstein, Mike Patton, and Tom Waits [he's hardcore], all easily kick my ass in a theoretical fight. However, The Arcade Fire, I could wail on them for hours on end without so much as a defensive block or a counter-punch. Look at the band. A bunch of Canadian pansies in waistcoats. I'm not exactly hardcore, but I know a fair amount of fighting tactics and strength training techniques, enough to overpower any of them. Half of them look like wet noodles and the other half are girls and no girl is a match for me strength-wise, even when putting lesbian tennis players [i.e. all of them] into consideration. The Arcade Fire is very stylish and all indie fucks must love them due to their strong chance of getting a whupping from anyone, anywhere, anytime, and possibly even anydimension.
THE 'NO ONE ELSE KNOWS ABOUT THIS BAND' FACTOR
Another great aspect of The Arcade Fire, no one knows about them. When you proudly proclaim your love of The Arcade Fire, they will murmur in indifference instead of say "The Arcade Fire? Those fags caused me to commit several hate crimes!", a normal response if you know about The Arcade Fire and someone tells you about their love of them. My dad swears no knowledge of them, Herb Kohl thanked me for voting for him in the primaries but refused to answer my question, the homeless guy I asked asked ME the question of "Can I urinate in your teeth to make sure you're not one of them?", and St. Louis catcher Mike Matheny stared into space. All in all, no one knew except the chick working at the local record store. But she's supposed to know who they are. I give The Arcade Fire a better 'No One Else Knows About This Band' Factor rating than I gave to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah mainly because The Arcade Fire is from Canada, and due to the exchange rate in terms of band currency, The Arcade is therefore even less known than Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
As music The Arcade Fire burns out and salts the music Earth 48 minutes before the end of their CD. But, I've said time and time again, indie music isn't 'about' music. Don't constrain it to be 'about' something, man, you CRYPTOFASCIST! The Arcade Fire as indie music is a triumph over adversity and Canadianness to produce one of the indiest indie albums ever. Too bad in 2 years after real people start listening to them, Pitchfork will dub them fat capitalist pigs and their support amongst man-children and style whores will all but disappear. Then they'll either have to return to menial jobs or just have to trudge on with real popularity. What a shame.