Yep you read that right. Stream it now below; party in the comments.
Reflektor is out for real 10/29 via Merge.
Love the edge on the first half, love the air on the second half. Love it all.
World’s fastest reviewer.
Leaked at 6am today – I’ve had plenty of time to listen multiple times and digest.
I agree, David Evans dominates disc 1
this is good, but can we discuss Prism? i have opinions.
First person to say “This album is perfect/this album sucks” before the hour has passed gets a bonk on the head.
this album is perfect, but it sucks.
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what about one giant “meh” on first listen?
after listening to this a few times since the day started, i can say that it’s not striking me as immediately as its predecessors. however, it doesn’t seem like that was the way it was designed/approached so it makes sense as a potential grower. if nothing else, afterlife sounds absolutely massive and was sequenced perfectly. will undoubtedly be giving this one several more listens before years end.
Definitely wasn’t struck immediately – thought it was maybe the early hour and lack of caffeine in my body. Has been more intrigued/enamored with each listen.
Does the singing in French rub anyone else the wrong way? It comes off as WAY pretentious to me.
And I realize there was some of that on previous albums. It bothered me then, too.
I think Régine Chassagne singing in English comes off as WAY pretentious.
GUYS STOP OR THEY’RE GOING TO SEPARATE!!!!!!
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock!
Quittez ces choses prétentieuses et juste frapper l’horloge!
oh google translate, we don’t really want to punch clocks…
They’re from Canada and know French?
I thought I read somewhere that they were from Texas and that it was just the band that was formed in Quebec, but now that I’ve looked again I see his wife is from there. I didn’t know that. So…ignore the pretentious thing and pretend like I wasn’t ignorant.
Even so, not seeing how someone originally from Texas, now from Quebec, speaking French is pretentious.
Really? You downvote him when he takes it back too? Do you guys even read?
Not only is she from Canada but her first language is French.
I know, it’s like would it really have been so hard to learn Spanish or Creole or some trash so my superiority wouldn’t feel threatened as I listen?
Fucking French. Baguette-eating motherfuckers. The French have smaller skulls and smell bad. In America, we have Eiffel Towers all over the place… to make our cell phones work. Fucking beret-wearing motherfuckers. If a French guy showed up at my house after getting his teeth knocked out, ’cause no one knows what the FUCK he was saying ’cause he doesn’t speak English, I’d make him bite a salty rag.
We’re here to talk about music, not your ignorance.
i will fuck u right in ur napoleon-loving mouth. goddamn french-loving motherfucker. Robespierre called… he wants his dick back. it’s in ur hand. eat a baguette.
Mmmm, freedom fries.
CAN’T…… UNTANGLE…. MY………. HEADPHONES……….. SDKJFHKLSADHFK!!!!
Man, I have to say I am completely blown away by how amazing and far this band has come in being completely overrated with the growth they’ve experienced by meticulously transforming themselves in just a span of 10 year, and I just don’t get why they’re so popular and all this fricking bullshit marketing, you know what I’m saying? But the visuals accompanying this are beautiful and transcending to a whole different region, and I love that the lyrics could be a bit stronger, which I’ve always been indifferent about. The Regine songs always stuck out the most for me, and not that Win isn’t a strong songwriter, but wow, I would have to rank him above Byrne in terms of how important he will be to alternative landscape. James Murphy’s production is captivating but it also reminds me a lot of the style heard on the Sound of Silver is much better than This Is Happening isn’t as good as Neon Bible, although I’d rank it above The Suburbs which was only my second favorite album of 2010 and this is definitely my favorite album of the year. I haven’t listened to it yet but can’t wait for my pre-order to arrive!
I’m not even sure what tone to read this comment in, but I sure loved reading it.
After multiple reads, these lines really stood out most to me.
“completely blown away by how amazing and far this band has come in being completely overrated”
“I love that the lyrics could be a bit stronger, which I’ve always been indifferent about.”
“a lot of the style heard on the Sound of Silver is much better than This Is Happening isn’t as good as Neon Bible, although I’d rank it above The Suburbs which was only my second favorite album of 2010 and this is definitely my favorite album of the year”
I can’t tell if you liked it or hated it or are drunk or what. Good times.
i can tell you what i am out of all of those options
i liked it
but i’m gonna be drunk later
Done listening! Final quick one listen perspective-moments of clearly inspired brilliance and avant garde leanings. Some strong pop-ish singles with great melodies. A marriage of straight ahead art and straight ahead re-purposed rock and roll for the 21rst century. Not all of it works, at least at once, but the bits that do are incredibly striking. Some may cry foul for saying it has too much filler, but its nice to enjoy a record that designed as an experience. That’s exactly what AC and James Murphy seemed to set out to do-make a record that was an experience. They succeeded. Kid A was loved and loathed upon release. Now it’s heralded as the best record of the past 13 years. Whatever you call this record ( or don’t call this record), to me it’s art, being done tastefully and with inspiration. It’s unlike anything AF have done before and for that I salute them. It really is an experience. Well done AF.
Counterpoint here, but I kind of hate the first half because of how ordinary it sounds and am just okay with the second half. I hate that “You Already Know” is like an Arcade Fire-ified rendition of the Smiths and that “Here Comes the Night” is an Arcade Fire-ified rendition of Vampire Weekend and that “Normal Person” is an Arcade Fire-ified rendiiton of that time Springsteen met Peter Gabriel (?) and everything else around them just isn’t very interesting as far as alternative rock goes. As for the second half, there’s some good ideas but they don’t sound like ones made by a dozen-person band. It sounds like three or four interludes packed together. Finally, Regine doesn’t have a starring role anywhere on the LP, which is a disappointment, because her fronted songs have usually been the highlights on past efforts. I usually can tell right off the bat when I might just need to spend more time with an album to absorb it all, but the layers here just keep getting flatter and flatter upon repeat listen.
Out of five, I’d give it a weak three and a half stars and see this more as a jolted move to shake some of the mainstream attachment that has formed around them since their Grammy win for all those people who were hoping they’d become a U2 stadium seat-filling act.
Oh, wait a minute…
I’m listening again in a more stabilized situation with headphones, and it’s not the same album I spun a few times yesterday. I feel better about life now.
Anyone want to guess first weeke sales? I’m gonna go 350k
sounds a little bit too much like arcade fire/james murphy remixing themselves occasionally (not every song has to end with 2+ minutes of the same phrase repeated ad nauseum) but I’m still very pleased about the whole thing
I’d like to hear Prince remix “Wait Until It’s Over”. That refrain needs more falsetto.
My bad, “It’s Never Over”.
I think I’ll wait til next week…
I can’t say how I feel about the album as a whole yet, but I think this was the best possible direction they could have gone. Between “Reflektor” and “Here Comes the Night Time” on disc 1 and the one-two punch of “Awful Sound” and “It’s Never Over” on disco 2, there is some undeniably great music on here.
I adored The Suburbs when it came out but as I listened to it more the amount of filler on that record became more and more apparent, and while some of the codas on this album are probably going to feel unnecessarily long in a little while, overall, they sound more energized as a whole on this than they have since Funeral, and that’s vitally important.
I’m still not sure how I feel about “Normal Person”, but the studio version is a major improvement on any of the televised performances — I always felt there was no cohesion between the verses and chorus, and furthermore found the chorus to feel plodding, but the problem seems to be mostly fixed here. Nevertheless between this and “Month of May” I’m not sure how keen I am to hear them rock out in the future.
But wow. Album of the year contender, but I think we already knew that. It’ll be interesting to see what this does in the long run to their popularity/image/reputation etc.
Ha ha, disco 2! Freudian slip.
I think my favorite thing is the awesome movie they’re playing behind the lyrics… The dance scene for Here Comes the Night Time is particularly awesome.
The film in the Brazilian epic “Black Orpheus”! Cannot stress enough how awesome it is – and the soundtrack is one of the best.
which is a retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, who are on the album cover, and mentioned in song titles. whoah, connections!
Novel idea: listen to this all week, mull it over, drink a cup of tea, AND THEN come back here and tell me it’s either the greatest thing you’ve ever heard or the most heart wrenching let down of your life.
That “Here Comes the Night Time-Normal Person-You Already Know” stretch is pretty much perfect, no?
So what was up with that extremely long stretch of backwards music in between discs? Was that the end of Joan of Arc or Here Comes the Night Time II?
It’s apparently on physical releases as a hidden “track 0″, so I think it’s its own thing.
The one at the end of “Supersymmetry” is simply Arcade Fire being kind and rewinding.
I think that’s the wittiest comment I’ve read on this thread RJ :)
Wow what an album run! This is my favourite first listen of theirs since Funeral. Amazing headphone album. Hopefully it keeps getting better.
I’ve listened to it three times, and I’m positive that it’s very good, but I haven’t figured out whether or not it ascends to the level of greatness of Funeral or albums that it’s been compared to like Kid A and Achtung Baby. Some of the reviews I’ve read complain about the length, but I think the sprawl (heh) is one of the major things that makes this album so fascinating. I think we’ll all need some more time before a definitive verdict.
I think it’s definitely closer in spirit to Achtung Baby than Kid A — just look at U2 ‘s shift from almost too sincere to embracing irony etc. not only on that album but the ad campaign and the Zoo TV tour. Whereas Kid A felt more like a deliberate shedding of expectations and attempt to shake the audience they’d gotten i.e. Yeezus, In Utero, etc.
And I think only time will tell where it compares to these albums (except for Yeezus, because c’mon, it’s been what, four months?) but it probably does stand as the most important “reinvention” or whatever since Kid A, regardless of how effective it will end up being or how close in spirit they are.
I agree that this is probably one of the better directions they could have taken after The Suburbs. I will say, though, that I love all the performances of “Here Comes the Night Time,” “We Exist,” and “Normal Person” from that video a bit better than their studio versions.
Guy around 42 minute mark looks just like disko ball man covered in mirrors, ends up seeming to be analgous to the Satyr in the tall grass in the myth who kills Eurydice the first time around. Also there is a crazy meta thing going on here with the allusions to the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice–two tracks reference them, and using Black Orpheus as the lyric video, and I think the guy who looks like disko ball man seems to be analgous to the Satyr in the tall grass in the myth who kills Eurydice the first time around.
The reverse music in the middle clearly ends with Reflektor in reverse–a reflected image is copy in reverse, SO MUCH GOING ON HERE and I just scratched the surface.
My short review of the first half: I CAN’T STOP DANCING.
Let me add that the album with it’s repeated allusions to Heaven and the afterlife is clearly intended to make a connection between Orpheus bringing Eurydice back from the underworld (he eventually loses her a second time because he fails Hades’ condition of her return on their journey. Wikipedia it.). I was struggling to make the connection between the myth and Arcade Fire’s critique of what they are calling the Reflective Age but it suddenly became very clear during “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)” with the following lyric: “Hey Orpheus / I’m behind you / Don’t turn around / Wait until it’s over / Wait until it’s through.” It was discussed frequently and in many places that “Reflektor” was a critique of the digital age and our over-eagerness to place empty reflections of ourselves on social media. I believe what they are doing here is using the tragedy as a parable to just go through it and live out your life instead of going back and obsessing over these tiny moments and placing them on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter (just as Savages have been very loudly declaring “SILENCE YOURSELVES” and kindly asking the audience to turn off their phones.) After Eurydice had died he dared to go down and ask Hades to bring her back from the afterlife. Hades allowed it on one condition, that he never turn back and look upon her until they had both returned up to life. Orpheus in his anxiety and forgetfulness to not “turn around” and “wait until it’s over” looked back when he had returned to the surface but Eurydice had not made it through.
Personally, I feel that Arcade Fire has not only created a very pleasant album to listen to, but also one that is very lyrically deep and extremely clever.
Good stuff. Sandman did some neat stuff with the whole Orpheus/Eurydice story. Yay comics!
oh, why hello awful sound. the dick likes
This synchs up with Black Orpheus so incredibly well. It’s like the Dark Side/Wizard of Oz myth except it actually works. Just a few:
- Check out Here Comes The Night Time during the dance sequence.
- The fade out of the last track as he falls to his death, and the little kids playing over the ambient outro. It’s amazing.
We talked about you getting an avatar!
How about mirror man from Black Orpheus?
good, but slightly underwhelmed by the first listen. i guess i was anticipating having my mind blown a little bit too much. have a feeling it will grow on me over time though, at least i hope so
Honestly, for me that’s how I felt about ”Loveless” by My Bloody Valentine. I am ashamed to say I once hated that record. Crazy I know. Now I truly love it for what it is and not because of all its fanfare. But sometimes art needs to take time to digest. I’m halfway through this album so far and there’s certainly some really interesting things happening. Listening on crappy computer laptop speakers (which I usually do for a stream so as not to spoil the sonic surprises when I listen to it digitally, properly) but some things sound really awesome and some things aren’t quite my cup of tea. As a double LP its bound to have some measure of filler on it, but this album possibly is brilliant. Curious to see what I think after disc 2 :)
Love it. I don’t get the whole “Arcade Fire went straight dance” message I’ve been hearing – there are plenty of rock songs on this too – but the beat heavy songs are the ones that grab me the most. Also, the “Hey Orpheus” –> “Porno” –> “Afterlife” run is the best thing all year. In fact, I’m surprised at the lack of love “Hey Orpheus” is getting. Great stuff though.
I might add that I was too lazy to check the actual song name but it’s “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)”
I’m feeling the “Awful Sound” and “It’s Never Over” back to back a whole lot. Some of the best we’ve ever heard from them. “Porno” is a tad less so in terms of lacking the same emotional intensity as those two but still great. But those first two! Damn!
Enjoying that part for the first time as we (I) speak.
Porno is so beautifully Bowie
I really like it.
I just finished listening, and I’m not feeling all the mixed and negative reviews above. This album receives my highest rating, 10/10, 100%, A+, maximum stars. MAXIMUM. STARS.
you know what? i’m definitely getting a yeezus vibe on afterlife. IDK
god i’m so fucking clever
Thankfully I have this “isuckhard” troll account to save face on my real account.
original RJ, are you really isuckhard?
Oh God No Way!
I was trying to get into his head and steal his thunder.
okay good, now i can sleep at night.
Some excellent points of departure here, I think. We all need time to assess the trajectory.
“Flashbulb Eyes” reminds me of “Under the Earth” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
That “Here Comes the Nighttime” to “Normal Person” double sticks out on the first listen.
I hope I wasn’t the only one hopelessly confused by the backtracking between discs
I find this album to be considerably enjoyable.
Supersymmetry is an amazing song. It may be the album’s best.
Hot damn…We exist thumps my brain so hard.
that billy jean-esque baseline makes my pantaloons get dirty
I’ll be able to listen to the first like 4 songs before I have to go to work.
who knew animated gifs would be the all encompassing perfect medium for human expression. I wish I could use animated gifs to express my emotions for me all the time.
I’m kind of wondering if most of you were already convinced before listening to the thing, cause on first listens (4 exactly) I really think it’s their least interesting work to date. Not to say it’s shameful or shit, but I don’t feel the emotionnal impact I had with every other one. It’s missing something really, I think a big part of that is the lyrics which are often repetitive and lack depth, after a huge lyrics-based album (the suburbs).
Also, I’m missing guitars sometimes, not to say they don’t make great songs with electronics and synths (Afterlife, Reflektor, Here comes the night time), but I wish the only guitars we hear in this albums would be a bit more upfront, like the ones in Afterlife.
Anyway, I’m digging half of it right now, hope to like more after a few listens, but I already know it’s not the concept album I was hoping for (but hell, The Suburbs gave me exactly what I hoped for, can’t touch perfection twice …)
I felt this same way after finally giving a few spins. I was especially surprised by the first half, which I felt was a less engaging side to their rock side. I’m not disappointed in Arcade Fire and the direction I give them credit for, but I’m disappointed that I don’t like enough it enough to warrant that spot on my year-end list I had anticipated for it.
If I could downvote my own comment, I would, because I feel entirely different about the album now and that spot on my year-end list is now looking pretty warm and cozy for some Fire.
Arcade Fire simply reverses the songs from the first half of the album for a 10 minute little bonus track, and it’s better than 90% of the EDM out there.
Stolen from reddit, but allegedly, this is the 10 minute bonus track in reverse. I think you’ll recognize these ditties.
The middle “backwards” part sounds like the Beatles, a la “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Love it.
Yeah awesome, especially the backwards normal people part. Reminded me of “Don’t Stop” by the Stone Roses which was a reflektion of “Waterfall”.
And Simone, man. Which is Where Angels Play backwards. Gotta love the Stone Roses.
When I see Arcade Fire touring this album and they do Joan of Arc, I’m gonna be the dude in the front who jumps on the chorus’s downbeat to show everyone that I know the song.
The tape rewinding part is The Arcade Fire equivalent of Radiohead’s TreeFingers. Great album. Right now the second half is doing it for me more but Arcade Fire albums always take a while to grow on me. We Exist, Normal Person, Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice), It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus), Porno, Afterlife, Reflektor and Supersymmetry rank among their best work to me. Those songs will kill live.
I took the day off work to listen to this and played it 12 times on 10 different stereos. I think it is safe to say that this is my second favourite arcade fire record.
that piano on here comes the night is sexy as hell.
Anybody notice that the song clip that has been in the youtube ads isn’t on the album?
What’s going on here?
Hey Pitchfork: this one goes to eleven.
It’s almost as crazy, overblown and great as Shaking the Habitual and that’s saying something.
Still, The Knife wins this round.
All I can say is stop. Stop denying the fact that this album is FRICKING INCREDIBLE! Everything ever made sounds a little bit like something else. This group just put together sounds of different genres and made a great dance album. Let’s celebrate!!!!
What do you think of the way the album was recorded? I can’t tell if it is a little mute or sterile recordin wise or if it is just cause the leak isn’t great…
how we doing today guys? hungover? i’m still holding out, haven’t listened to it yet, but i’m loving this comment fiesta.
So I waited almost a full day to report in, both to make sure I had plenty of time to absorb the music and also in the hope that isuckhard would pass out from exhaustion at some point. I’m not sure that anyone will see this, but that’s ok. I just want to let my thoughts out. And…
I like it! It’s definitely an album worth investing time in, and I fully plan to. It’s not what I was expecting, or even what I was hoping for, but there’s nothing wrong with that. I like being surprised. It’s not too dancey, or too “arcadefirey” or too stadium/Grammy-baity, it’s just the right combination of all of that. I’m going to need a lot more time to decide where it fits in the discography, or even in with this year’s music in general (a stellar year that just keeps getting better).
I think this stream would work much better synced to either The Wall or Wizard of Oz.
RIP sound. So much for this stream.
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