Watch Arcade Fire Debut New Song “Generation A” On Stephen Colbert’s Live Election-Night Special

Watch Arcade Fire Debut New Song “Generation A” On Stephen Colbert’s Live Election-Night Special

From pretty much every conceivable perspective, last night’s election coverage made for a frustrating, spirit-squishing night of television. But at least we got a new Arcade Fire song out of it! As part of Stephen Colbert’s live Showtime election special last night, Arcade Fire showed up to debut a new jam called “Generation A,” and they put a whole lot into it. An exhausted and dispirited-looking Colbert described “Generation A” as being “inspired by the current climate of the country, with a hopeful message to the youths.” Really, though, the new Arcade Fire song is less hopeful than urgent.

Arcade Fire played “Generation A” live-in-studio, with most of the members of the band masked and with Win Butler giving his new bleach-blonde haircut its TV debut. An adorable little masked kid — presumably Butler and Régine Chassagne’s son — gave the song a rousing, echoed-out intro, and the band played the song, summoning much of the euphoric intensity that makes their live shows so transformative.

“Generation A,” it turns out, is a juiced-up, anthemic track about how the world needs to change right now. Lyrically, the song works as a rebuke to ideas about incremental change, about each generation getting its turn to take over: “They say wait until you’re ready/ Wait until your number’s called/ They say wait, all we need is love/ But darling, California’s burning, New Orleans is waiting for the flood.” Musically, it’s fired-up synthpop with some of the dejected grandeur of the Who. Watch it below.

Win Butler has said that Arcade Fire recorded “two or three” albums during lockdown, so maybe this is our first taste of one of them.

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