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Like Gruff, the Dark Was The Night compilation is the gift that keeps giving: Earlier today it yielded a unanimously loved Sufjan track. (Pauses to appreciate that something received unanimous love on Stereogum.) Now on to something also generally lovable: Obama-staffer fave Arcade Fire. The patriotic outfit’s contribution to Dark is called “Lenin,” formerly known as “When Lenin Was Little” and existing out there in the ether as an unreleased Arcade Fire tune for some time now. (Go to arcadefire.com for the lyrics.) Maybe they didn’t play this at the Obama staff ball because they sing “Daddy, Daddy, please save the world from the government.” Or maybe that is why they should have played it. Hear here:

Dark Was The Night is out 2/17 via 4AD.

[Photo from Arcade Fire @ Radio City Music Hall 5/9/07 by Amrit Singh.]

Comments (35)
  1. this compilation rules. I hope they make a ton of money for the charity.

  2. Why did I think it was “Woodlands National Anthem” when the track started?

  3. Evan  |   Posted on Jan 29th, 2009 0

    Its got a nice Bowie and T-Rex vibe…

    definitely B-side material.

    But also definitely awesome.

    • I was thinking that exact same thing – Bowie vibe. It’s no Neighborhood(Power Out) but it’s not bad at all. Still, seems like a bit of a tease. Please, Arcade Fire, write an amazing new record and come back to NYC.

  4. Paul Ramon  |   Posted on Jan 29th, 2009 0

    Such overwrought garbage. Meaningless “foreboding” lyrics with loaded words like “daddy” and “Lenin.” Crap. And the music is worse.

    • Spot on assessment. If this hyper-emo caterwauling passes for singing, then I feel bad for the state of singing. The positive? It makes me appreciate Division Day about eleventy billion times more than I previously did (which was a lot), because this is what happens when a bunch of hacks try for a similar sound. Cheers!

  5. Arcade Fire goes from bland indifference to outrageous passionate love for me. This one has too much of a late 70′s sugar pop feel to it. I wouldn’t even say T-Rex or Bowie like Evan – more like Captain and Tennille and the Jackson Five, but less happy.

  6. Respect for trying something new, even if it still sounds like Arcade Fire, which is good to begin with. I dig the song but the production sounds different then their other stuff.

  7. yeah!  |   Posted on Jan 29th, 2009 0

    i’m totally downloading this album. FUCK CHARITY!

  8. Mo  |   Posted on Jan 29th, 2009 0

    I hated that Sufjan song. So fuck off Stereogum.

  9. Fascist Baby  |   Posted on Jan 29th, 2009 0

    It’s cute. Definite Bowie vibe, but how can you not like that?

  10. toto  |   Posted on Jan 29th, 2009 0

    cool. did they write this song in like 4 minutes?

    • Evan  |   Posted on Jan 29th, 2009 0

      I think people are neglecting the fact that this song was written and recorded ages and ages ago. It’s nothing new, guys.

      It’s pre-funeral.

  11. the new arcade fire record really can not come soon enough

  12. So great to hear some new Arcade Fire. Loving the old boogie-woogie feel…

  13. Tamara12  |   Posted on Jan 30th, 2009 0

    Sounds a bit like early 70s Bowie or Roxy Music. I like it!

  14. Jarrett  |   Posted on Jan 30th, 2009 0

    Holy hell, it’s like a band can get famous, then release half assed boring music! Hoorah! Seriously, wtf is this. B Side, CONFIRMED. There should have been more effort put into this. Don’t they have any pride?

  15. paper  |   Posted on Jan 30th, 2009 0

    you guys are forgetting that this band is canadian, how can they be patriotic to a country none of them are citizens of?
    their playing for obama was more about the world’s love for america’s new leader, not american’s love for its own leader.

  16. The-- Watchmen  |   Posted on Jan 30th, 2009 0

    Hey the coachella lineup is out

    http://www.coachella.com/

    just a heads up

    but i do like this song, i think i may get the album as well

  17. Smitty  |   Posted on Jan 30th, 2009 0

    What do you expect from a B-Side track? Yes, it does sound different that many other arcade fire songs but that does not make it a bad tune, give them a break already.

  18. tom  |   Posted on Jan 30th, 2009 0

    it seems they gave an old unreleased song from the funeral era (Lenin) because thats all they had. and it’s great for the compilation even if it isn’t an A level arcade fire song. it’s still good and obviously having arcade fire on the album brings way more attention to it and helps raise money to fight AIDS which is the whole point. but they aren’t putting this song forward as a new direction!

  19. me  |   Posted on Jan 30th, 2009 0

    Am I the only one who thinks this song is complete crap? I mean, I love the AF but come on!

  20. Come on Lenin! You can do it! Come on Lenin! There’s nothing to it!

  21. simple, lack of jangly piano=not what i love about arcade fire. good background music, however

  22. adam  |   Posted on Jan 31st, 2009 0

    Arcade fire can do no wrong. Another great song to add to the collection.

  23. lover  |   Posted on Jan 31st, 2009 0

    I love Arcade Fire, but why do they insist on making records that sound like they were recorded in a garage? Is there a good answer?

  24. Mike  |   Posted on Feb 1st, 2009 0

    Even though this song is “old” it’s completely relevant to our current situation. I don’t really like it that much but it’s nice to hear something different from them. How many more charities to go until a cure is released?

  25. william  |   Posted on Feb 1st, 2009 0

    why on earth would you guys downvote somebody for having a different opinion than you? do you operate on a hive mind?

    if we’re being honest here, ya’ll know you’d never seek that song out had you never heard of arcade fire, because it IS vastly inferior to all of funeral and almost all of neon bible.

    but this is understandable! they’ve been on a well deserved “break”, scoring a whole damn film and writing songs for their eventual follow-up. coming up with something quick, accessible, and indeed boring was an okay thing to do.

  26. Matt  |   Posted on Apr 1st, 2009 0

    Er…. I thought this was the best track of the album. Blues with a chromatic twist and mysterious , poetic lyrics- I’d never heard them before. Also the singing is terrific. I bought Neon Bible and was quite disappointed- no cars go is a comparable song, otherwise musically they were predictable and unfortunately very safe sounding, using mostly their monotonous lead singer They even had the horrible snow patrol lyric (those who it irritates will know what i mean). Just goes to show, people have very wide ranging tastes (but secretly I think I am superior for liking this track!)

  27. Matt  |   Posted on Apr 1st, 2009 0

    Er…. I thought this was the best track of the album. Blues with a chromatic twist and mysterious , poetic lyrics- I’d never heard them before. Also the singing is terrific. I bought Neon Bible and was quite disappointed- no cars go is a comparable song, otherwise musically they were predictable and unfortunately very safe sounding, using mostly their monotonous lead singer They even had the horrible snow patrol lyric (those who it irritates will know what i mean). Just goes to show, people have very wide ranging tastes (but secretly I think I am superior for liking this track!)

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