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The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 5-6-22 – 5-12-22, Arcade Fire’s “WE” Reviewed

Back in the day, before Win Butler was media savvy, he told a Rolling Stone writer to get out of a cab in the middle of Paris because the interview was over, an act that came across as brutal and arrogant. Which makes sense because, god knows, Win exudes a privileged rock star glow of horridness that if he let down his guard for a moment would explode all over him.

The Canadian rock anthem purveyors, David Bowie approved to boot, arrived fully formed so let’s take a look at the albums:

Funeral (2004) – A-
Neon Bible (2007) – B+
The Suburbs (2010) – B
Reflektor (2013) – A-
Everything Now (2017) – A-
We (2022) – well, let’s see…

Yes, Win is a dick but his band are thrilling on stage and have had some incredible moments on record, especially the last two albums where they merged their talents for stirring singalongs with James Murphy’s modern day EDM in 2013 followed by the electrifying 2017 release, and if there is a song as great as “Everything Now” on We, I can’t find it.

We attempts top connect the dance side with the anthem side of Arcade Fire but the songs are nowhere near good enough to handle the assignment. All three singles were nothing much (and absolutely stiffed) and the album, doubling down on song titles, is worse, both “End Of The Empire” are as bad as Arcade Fire have ever gotten, a dirge to the American Empire? What empire precisely? And forget the politics, we get their meaning anyway, the moribund bummer is at the heart of why We is their worst album: much like dropping the bass in EDM, we patiently wait for the album to take off and it stalls on song after song. You can write sad anthems (Springsteen does it as per usual), nothing to stop you, but Win has lost the knack and on song after song he completely fails to move us out of the morose. The dance doesn’t move, the acoustic bits sag, and the lyrics fail to connect.

True, it can take awhile for Arcade Fire to kick in and Win and Regine are a somewhat creepy duo, and there is something about the band that has tended to miss the mark, but not on this level. The only great moment is the beginning of “The Lightning II” but the hook doesn’t pay off and even their best moment isn’t remotely good enough.

Will it be good on stage? Yeah, I mean, sure, why not be able to stretch themselves upwards but on record this is a retreat despite the addition of beats here and there, mentally it is worn out and emotionally it is shredded.

Grade: C-

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