It's hard to tell where Arcade Fire's fifth studio LP, Everything Now, will fall. The first single that the band released from the record, "Everything Now," seemed to set us up for an ABBA-esque, disco-heavy, anti-internet concept record with a party-through-the-apocalypse vibe; but "Creature Comfort," released Friday, had another angle entirely, sonically peppy, but lyrically devastating.
In an interview with Dutch website 3voor12 yesterday, frontman Win Butler gave a little more insight into the album's title track and the concept behind the record more broadly. First of all, that catchy-ass flute that you can hear when "Everything Now"'s clatter recedes is a sample the late Cameroonian artist Francis Bebey's "The Coffee Cola Song."
"I just bought the record in a record shop in London and just loved it," Butler explained. "Régine [Chassagne, Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist] had heard it on the radio in Montreal when she was younger. I think it was maybe playing on a college radio station or something like that. It was kind of an accident to be honest. I was working on a remix of the song and just ended up writing a completely different song around it without even thinking about it. It kind of took a couple of months to realize that "Everything Now" was a song because we're not really a band that uses sampling or anything like that, so it wasn't something that was on my radar. By the time we played it with the band, it took on a completely different life of its own."
Butler shared some feelings about the internet age, too, which thankfully didn't come off as all that trite:
I think the internet was co-opted early on by corporations. I don't think anyone knew when we were signing up for Gmail accounts, that we'd be getting direct marketing of things we write in our private emails. I think we've kind of stumbled into a lot of this. Look at YouTube—it's this massive company that people thought was for cat videos. It turns out it was kind of hijacking all of human content and turning it into money.
Finally, he jabbed back (gently) at some of the band's recent critics:
There are kids coming to our shows now that were three years old when Funeral came out and so you get really different energy depending on where people come into your back catalog. Every record we put out, there's been some people who have been like Oh no, they've lost it, they suck now… I remember playing Wake Up for the first time and seeing people leave the room because they were so disappointed in the song and the new direction of the band. I kind of knew early on that those people were not correct and that you're not trying to make music to please everyone, you have to just make it to please yourself.
Watch the interview in full at the top of the page. It's a YouTube video. No cats.
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