During a visit to a local hardware store earlier this week, the announcer on the radio playing on the store’s sound system commented that when she was a teen learning to drive in south Florida she always resented French Canadians because the cars with Quebec license plates always seemed to occupy all the available public parking. That observation alone made me chuckle and got my attention. She continued by noting that she has since changed her views and now she loves French Canadians, and one of the reasons is because of the Montreal-based band Arcade Fire. She brought this up because of the band’s release a couple of weeks ago of its superb new album “The Suburbs”.
Even though it’s generally regarded as an indie rock band, Arcade Fire and its label, North Carolina’s Merge Records, have done such a good job of promoting this latest album that there is a thread of discussion in the press and blogosphere about whether the band has sold out from its indie roots. Wow! What a spurious view that seems to suggest that an artist (musical or otherwise) whose craft is critically acclaimed can only be taken seriously so long as the artist is willing to live in poverty and not “play” any part of the commercial game. I don’t get that as the two are not mutually exclusive except, if at all, from the narrowest viewpoint, and say more power to creative types who are able to enjoy commercial success for their efforts. And, of course, it’s a big plus if, like the music on “The Suburbs”, the result of that effort is something that brings great pleasure for so many to enjoy. So, thumbs up to this latest release by Arcade Fire — on which the music is really good, by the way! All the tracks on this album are consistently good, with my favorites being “Modern Man,” “Rococo,” “City With No Children”, “Half Light II (No Celebration)” and “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains).”
Link to Arcade Fire’s web page: http://www.arcadefire.com/