Am I Mad At Arcade Fire For Changing, Or At Myself For Getting Older?
Tell me if I’m being a cantankerous jerk
Arcade Fire has a new album out called We. Musically speaking, it is mostly pretty good. I’ll need to listen to it more to really develop an opinion.
There’s a chance I’ll just set it aside, though. I was surprised how annoyed I got at the band’s attempts at social commentary. Just this roaring jolt of curmudgeonliness.
My pique peaked while listening to “End of the Empire I–III,” which is one track, as well as the next one, “End of the Empire (Sagittarius A*).” In the first song, lead singer Win Butler sings that we are “standing at the end of the American empire” (in case you didn’t glean from the title which empire he was referring to). It’s incredibly deep stuff.
In the next song, we hear the word “unsubscribe” nine times. Did you know that in our present age of Web Whatever-Point-Whatever, we are beset by distractions and endless content options, and that perhaps “unsubscribing” from some of them might be salutary? If you didn’t know these things, now you do, thanks to Arcade Fire.
The song, which is undeniably quite pretty, leads to Butler singing these lines, with his bandmate and wife Régine Chassagne responding to his call.
We unsubscribe (unsubscribe)
Fuck season five (unsubscribe)
I’m writing this in part because I need you to tell me if I’m being a jerk. I was obsessed with this band after their 2004 debut studio album, Funeral. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t misremembering that album, so I put it on while I was walking home from a haircut yesterday. It had been awhile, and I started tearing up just thirty seconds in, right there on Prospect Avenue.
And if the snow buries my
And if my parents are crying
Then I'll dig a tunnel from my window to yours
Yeah, a tunnel from my window to yours
One of my most intimate platonic interpersonal memories is watching a friend listen to this on headphones when we were living together in D.C., not long after graduating college. He was a very snarky and cynical guy, but I still remember his face melting into something like rapture as he heard these lines for the first time — this hardened atheist, who at 22 or so had already been through some serious shit, looked like a Catholic attending mass at the Vatican for the first time.