All of them
Writing is hard. When I saw Funeral was next in line on my quest to revisit my entire music library I cringed. I am simply not creative or descriptive enough to express how great this record is. Most of you already know. You already know how perfectly Funeral taps into all of life’s emotions. There is joy and empowerment and sadness and despair here, oftentimes all felt within one song. There has never been a better record to invoke the nostalgic memories of childhood, poetic lyrics that paint pictures of those memories into your head so completely you realize you had forgotten them before you heard Arcade Fire. These statements hold true for the album as a whole as well as with each individual song, which not only makes Funeral one of the best records ever made, but all ten tracks act independently as some of the best singles to come out of the past decade.
What first caught my ear with Funeral was the raw, fearful emotions of young love locked up in the lyrics of “Crown of Love” and especially “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels),” where Win Butler sings of digging a tunnel from his childhood window to a companion’s to escape his parents' sadness, and as the song progresses and the lyrics touch upon the loss of a loved one, Butler reflects on how we remember those we lose as we age. That this interpretation can be taken so ambiguously as to suggest the loss of love, family, innocence, or friendship (or all of the above) with perfectly complimentary instrumentation is nothing short of genius. Pondering life’s meaning and how we make our way in this world are tackled with simple potent statements in “Wake Up” (If the children don’t grow up / Our bodies get bigger / But our hearts get torn up) and “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” (And the power’s out in the heart of man / Take it from your heart / Put it in your hand / What’s the plan?). And of course as the album’s title suggests and as the artists themselves have stated, death is frequently discussed. In “Neighborhood #2 (Laika)” a story is told of losing a brother, and the details of the story allege an interpretation of Alexander Supertramp's life (of Into the Wild). The album’s full concept just might culminate with “In the Backseat” though, where Régine Chassagne softly sings, I like the peace / In the backseat / I don’t have to drive / I don’t have to sleep / I can watch the countryside / And I can fall asleep / My family tree’s / Losing all of its leaves. Some of the most powerful lyrics I have ever heard.
Arcade Fire’s legacy has grown over the years culminating with a surprise 2011 grammy for The Suburbs. You can’t help but root for these Montrealers (unless your Kings of Leon). From their powerful performance, which introduced them to a large crowd on Letterman, to one of the best live collaborations ever captured on camera between the group and David Bowie at a 2005 Fashion Week show, to their 2010 sold-out, live streamed MSG show, Arcade Fire have built themselves up as one of the generation's best and most respected bands.
Related Arcade Fire posts: here
Spotify link to Funeral: here