Arcade Fire – “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)”

Michael Marcelle

Arcade Fire – “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)”

Michael Marcelle

Two days ago I told you how much I love Arcade Fire’s WE. Today the band is finally releasing a second official single from the album, though they’ve played several others live in the lead-up to its release.

“Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” directly follows lead single “The Lightning I, II” on the tracklist. As previewed on Twitter and performed at Coachella, the song appears to address Win Butler and Régine Chassagne’s son Eddie, promising him “a lifetime of skinned knees and heartbreak” but concluding “a life without pain would be boring.”

Musically “Lookout Kid” builds from acoustic strums to a soulful, jubilant outpouring that represents the brighter side of Arcade Fire. In my review, I called it “a string-laden commercial-ready folk-rock shimmy” and “sort of a campfire singalong about how you can’t always get what you want so you gotta footloose while taking a walk on the wild side?” It may be the corniest song on the album, in that it reminds me of some of the more chipper offshoots this band gave rise to, but if it’s too hokey for you on first pass, don’t come after me with pitchforks. It initially struck me as too cutesy, but this thing has burrowed its way into my heart with repeat listens, and given the way that chorus washes over you I suspect some listeners will love it on impact.

Butler’s statement accompanying “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” also reads as a rejoinder to my early skepticism:

There’s nothing saccharine about unconditional love in a world that is coming apart at the seams. WE need each other, in all of our imperfection. “Lookout Kid” is a reminder, a lullaby for the end times, sung to my son, but for everyone… Trust your heart, trust your mind, trust your body, trust your soul. Shit is going to get worse before it gets better, but it always gets better, and no one’s perfect. Let me say it again. No one’s perfect.

Listen below.

WE is out 5/6 on Columbia. Pre-order it below.

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