#4 – Arcade Fire – Reflektor
It’s no surprise that many critics are criticizing Arcade Fire for the length of the their latest double album, Reflektor. It is long. With the average song length ringing in at just under 6 minutes (5:57 to be nearly exact), it’s tough to argue to otherwise. But does it’s lengthiness take away from the experience of the record? No. Instead of enjoying the comforts of the empire the band built for themselves with their first three albums, they released a double-album defined by a distinctively different sound than all of it’s predecessors – an unnecessarily ambitious decision.
The inclusion of James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem is palpable, but so is the story behind the album. Upon visiting his wife and bandmate, Régine Chassagne’s home country, Haiti, Win Butler experienced something he hadn’t before. Butler described being exposed to the Haiti culture as “life-changing.” Accordingly, the beat-driven tracks of Reflektor build from styles more commonly associated with island-life, but end up sounding more disco than tropical when added to the pre-existing aesthetics of the band.
Lyrically, Reflektor is just as refreshing as its composition and production. Isolation, alienation and trying to define ourselves in the modern age are all common themes cast through stories inspired by the 1959 film Black Orpheus, observations made in Haiti and finally an essay by Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, titled “The Present Age”. By the end of the record, you’ll be wondering too, “have I ever really met a normal person?” -Rondeau
Other accolades: #5 on Rolling Stone, #7 on Consequence of Sound, #7 on NME, #10 on Stereogum, #12 on Amazon, #18 on MOJO, #18 on Paste, #37 on Spin