Merge / Rough Trade
“Definitive” has an ironically diverse meaning when referring to art forms, especially music. An album can define a time period, an artist’s style, or it can mean something more personal to each of us. However, Funeral by Arcade Fire can easily be applied to all of these meanings as the “definitive” record by the band. First, it is critically acclaimed as one of the best albums from the first decade of the current millennium. I would absolutely agree on that point. Secondly, many claim that this is the definitive Arcade Fire album, much like Good News for People Who Love Bad News by Modest Mouse. This is where I disagree. I feel that Neon Bible and The Suburbs are more indicative of Arcade Fire’s style. Finally, the whole personal bit is summed up neatly by saying that Funeral was one of my gateway albums into the band and even the world of indie music.
In short, the album completely deserves the accolades bestowed upon it (save for one song in my opinion, but we’ll get to that waffling on my part later). The first half of the album is a roller coaster of sound containing the “Neighborhood” saga, split in half by “Une Année Sans Lumière.” We’re treated to a back-and-forth of slow and fast, calm and dramatic, and mellow and tense. The juxtaposition of English and French on “Une,” and later “Haiti,” is woven together beautifully by Régine Chassagne and Win Butler. Their vocal harmonies flow together in a similarly fluid manner. Continue reading