Arcade Fire - Everything Now (2017 album)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by LarsO, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. 200 Balloons

    200 Balloons Well-Known Member

    Would you both be making these same points if the Metacritic was 92 and RYM was at 4.36? I think it's awfully presumptuous to write off a bunch of reviews like that. People had weeks to digest the singles and it's not like the band broke any new sonic, structural, or lyrical ground with the album.
     
  2. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    Nice post. A lot to chew on there...:righton::righton:

    If nothing else, the current tour not getting a great turn-out is probably a reminder to them that casual fans are fickle. The diehards will be stay on board for the duration, but to maintain the success they have enjoyed and keeping arenas packed instead of half full, a large chunk of the casual fan base needs to remain. But that is the thing: you can't chase it; you have to stay true to yourself and hope it happens on its own. That is the one that bugs me about their friendship with Bono, is I could see him getting in their ear and telling them they need to write hits to stay relevant and dominate the charts (which is what U2 has been trying to do the entire 21st century, and often not succeeding at it).

    I sense that the manager was fired because of the roll-out of this record and the whole twitter corporate angle they were playing up, which did not work. Songs like Everything Now and Creature Comfort are insanely catchy and should have made bigger dents with the masses, but they didn't. Not sure why, to be honest.
     
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  3. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    I was generalizing, yes, but I do think that fans are more likely to rush out and give a bad review on an internet website, rather than a good one. Maybe it's just me, but when a record comes out that I really like, I don't rush right out to give it a great rating/review. I want to let it soak in a little bit before I give a more accurate score/review. And I think that is human nature, generally speaking.

    Also, why does it matter that the band didn't break any new ground? A record doesn't have to reinvent the wheel to be great. Sometimes, a good record is just a good record, for the simplest of reasons (good songs!!). :)
     
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  4. Thanks!
    There's a ton here in your post as well that should be food for thought for whomever their next manager might be...not to remove the band from any responsibility but honestly, their job is to make the music and present it; while they no doubt have input and sway on marketing decisions, musicians really don't want to be bothered with the nuts-and-bolts of that stuff!

    I am not sure why they pursued a different strategy this time - as I typed that, I forgot all about the fact they are now "major-label artists" so who knows how much Columbia had to do with some of these decisions - but so many things were pretty wrong from the very beginning. I know the industry has changed so they've got to chase $$ where they can but on the backs of an album that doesn't have Adele-like crossover appeal, those kinds of cash-chasing decisions really left a bad taste in many people's mouths (even more so when coupled with the whole ironic over-the-top "buy our stuff" marketing campaign). Biggest sins were:

    1. The announcement of the album in tandem with mail-order presales and tour ticket presales - the 20+ album cover iterations, the night/day packages (including cassettes?!) at inflated prices and no digital downloads (always included up to this point) with the assumed expectation of delivery on release date. Those who went that route (yours truly included) didn't get their product until a full week after release, with CD copies from ticket sales arriving first...which is another bone of contention! How many folks would've pre-ordered the CD through their official site if we knew that we'd be getting a copy anyway when we bought show tickets? The whole thing screamed "ripoff".

    2. And speaking of the ticket presales - seats in the corners offered up first while holding back choicer seats for VIPs...ok fine. But this was done to a lesser extent during the Reflektor tour and I can promise you that those folks who paid for VIPs last time out emphatically did not spring for them this time with even less on offer in terms of swag/access. As mentioned up thread, this played some part in why you saw gaps in many areas - too many tickets held back for VIPs and for flexible pricing that went unsold.

    3. Too many shows in too many markets too close together in too short a period of time!! Yes, one could argue that they're not quite an arena band yet (I would disagree) but this was biggest problem of all imo - who does this? Play the big markets first, go elsewhere, *then* come back and hit secondary markets once word-of-mouth about the show itself is out and you've had even more time to work the album. They'd always done this before - why change now? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how this would weaken ticket sales - and on top of a perceived lackluster album? Killer.

    4. Definitely not enough time spent talking up the album by bandmembers and genuine marketing (rather than hype) from the label. The fewest interviews done that I can recall around the release of a new album - fewest tv mainstream appearances as well (they didn't even do SNL this time around, yes?). If you have any concerns about people "not getting it" (and certainly once you sense that they don't), why would you not be out there doing something about it? I know the days of in-store appearances and radio interviews are over but come on - they could easily have worked out a deal with Sirius, Spotify whomever (screw the Tidal-exclusive stuff) and taken over a "channel" to get maximum exposure for the album. Dropping the album then immediately sending the band out on the road without any real gestation period was just, well, silly.

    I'm certainly no marketing genius but I imagine all of us on here would say there were some pretty appalling judgment calls made on some of this. They'll survive it but perhaps some other heads need(ed) to roll along with Rodger's.

    P.S. - couldn't agree more re your Bono comments!
     
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  5. 200 Balloons

    200 Balloons Well-Known Member

    Actually, I asked a question to clarify how your statement:

    isn't effectively asserting that people only dislike the album due to their own deficiency.

    I don't see what's so objectionable here. Critics tend to believe that Funeral is a far better example of an indie rock album than Everything Now is a dance/rock/synth album. This exact same thing happened in the 70s when acts like The Beach Boys chased the disco trend. Most people didn't connect with "Here Comes The Night" the way they did with "God Only Knows". If Sonny Rollins released a third-rate trap album tomorrow, I'd expect that critics and fans would wonder why he didn't just stick to the sax.

    If critics don't find their songwriting circa 2017 to be as compelling as their songwriting circa 2004, why shouldn't they mention it? Just because ConnieGuitar is sick of hearing that complaint? I think it's clear as day if you stripped Funeral and Everything Now of their production, Funeral's lyrics and melodies are far superior. I believe you're intentionally mischaracterizing their audience as well. Arcade Fire has enjoyed steadily growing success as their sound has evovled. The Suburbs was widely popular and Reflektor brought in plenty of fans who were toddlers when Funeral was released. This is not consistent with a fanbase beating its chest and lamenting the fact that they don't sound exactly the same as they did a decade ago.

    Plenty of reviews are more thoughtful than you portray them. Here are a couple:

    The Quietus | Features | Track-By-Track | Arcade Fire's Everything Now Reviewed Track By Track
    Album Review: Arcade Fire - Everything Now

    Well, that's just literally not true about Win's voice. I saw Arcade Fire back in December of 2004 when Win could actually hit all of the notes on Funeral. It's been a long time since that was true. On top of that, Everything Now is full of speak-singing. It's easily the worst collection of lead vocals in their catalog. We'll have to agree to disagree on the hooks because I found it thoroughly unmemorable
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  6. 200 Balloons

    200 Balloons Well-Known Member

    The point was that Everything Now was not some unprecedented set of compositions and people were well-equipped to make assessments of it upon release. I don't see any reason why we should discard all of those initial reviews for this particular album.
     
  7. Johnny Feathers

    Johnny Feathers Member

    Location:
    USA
    I'll admit, first off, that the first single from this album did absolutely nothing for me, and that I haven't bought or heard the album other than maybe one other song. I also didn't buy Reflektor, and found the one time I saw them touring The Suburbs to be okay, but not earth-shattering. I'm also, admittedly, a long-time U2 fan.

    But I find the Bono comment interesting, because the band seems to be following the U2 playbook at this point. Stop me when you've heard this before: a successful, earnest rock band decides to embrace irony and disco and write songs about consumerism. And in doing so, they seemingly struggle to keep the audience they'd amassed at that point. Heck, there's even the boxing element to the tour. I would think if they were taking Bono's advice on anything, he'd probably be telling them, "Hey, you might want to rethink doing your own PopMart. That didn't work out too well for us."
     
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  8. Well, thanks for the reply but I obviously disgree with much of what you wrote: I guess I hit a nerve.

    Aside from no longer singing "Power Out" the way he did on Funeral, I'm surprised saying his voice is far stronger now than it was then would be a point of contention? I've always loved Win's voice but much of his vocals on Funeral are "shouty" and breathy in spots (that's part of what made his voice distinct): he has clearly learned improved his technique and ability to produce a much-fuller, stronger tone, nevermind his range being far more noticably impressive. That's what *I* hear but fair enough if you don't - doesn't make either of us wrong, though I really don't get how saying you saw him thirteen years ago is a persuasive argument?

    And posting more reviews are obviously unnecessary so not sure what the point of that is either (especially that gleefully snarky and yes, missing-the-point-completely, Quietus review). Reviews are reviews - all completely subjective. I've seen positive reviews for the album - there are actually some out there! - shall I bore you and everyone else with those knowing they won't (and shouldn't) change your mind? (Are people really that fickle anyway?)

    Loads of people of all ages at all their shows and buying their albums - who said otherwise? But you're kind of proving my point by saying that nothing on this album is as good as anything on Funeral. As great an album as Funeral is, it ain't perfect and it doesn't do anyone any favors to hold it up as the Holy Grail of Arcade Fire's ambition/musical execution.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  9. Danby Delight

    Danby Delight Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    Some of us didn't care for them. I saw two copies of the 12" single of "Everything Now" marked down to $6.99 in the discount bin at the Harvard Square Newbury Comics last week.
     
  10. SoundAdvice

    SoundAdvice Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver
    Maybe that's true with albums, but when younger music fans see a great show they will tell friends, hammer social media, buy a shirt, etc...

    How did AF go from stadium sized crowd at an Austin Festival down to 5k? Even factoring in out of towers/captive audience members it's an enormous drop off for an act that we all seem to agree is very much still worth seeing every tour.

    Is this their Popmart? Some cities had full turn outs and other cities were indifferent.
     
  11. troggy

    troggy Forum Resident

    Location:
    southern Illinois
    Was this a serious question?
     
  12. blair207

    blair207 Active Member

    Location:
    Fife, Scotland
    Everything Now is Arcade Fire’s Pop. Just as a lot of U2’s mainstream fans didn’t get that album a lot of Arcade Fire fans don’t get the message and there aren’t enough good songs on it.
     
  13. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    Well said!! :righton::righton:

    I didn't say we need to discard the initial reviews, but just because we got the four "singles" ahead of time doesn't mean we are well-equipped to rate the entire album the day it drops.

    I am sure there are a variety of reasons, many of which we have touched upon already, but if nothing else, it shows that Arcade Fire has not reach that untouchable status yet, ya know those bands that can fill up arenas no matter what (like Radiohead).
     
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  14. SoundAdvice

    SoundAdvice Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver
    I mentioned before that there is some kind of "pitchfork indie rock glass ceiling" in some US/Canada markets.

    Radiohead did a dozen US shows in 2017 and 8-9 in 2016. Half were arenas, 6-7 were festivals and a couple were mid sized venues. Much easier to sell out. Fans hate to hear it, but if you sent them out on the same Arcade tour routing, it would struggle in a couple markets.
     
  15. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Location:
    Berlin
    I'm not "writing off" anything. And reception can (and sometimes does) change. So... yes.... I would make the same claim if reviews had been positive. Plenty examples for albums getting rave reviews and eventually bubbling under at the end of the year. Usually these albums came out early in a year:targettiphat:
     
  16. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Location:
    Berlin
    But "Pop" was rushed and not really finished due to the looming deadline
     
  17. Willowman

    Willowman Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    LP of the year for me, along with Vince Staples. Listening to it again now, and don’t get the comments about lack of good songs. It’s packed with singalong moments. This and Reflektor are the only LPs of theirs I can listen to without reaching for the ‘skip’ button.
     
  18. johnny 99

    johnny 99 Exiled On Main Street

    Location:
    Toronto
    With all due respect to fans of Arcade Fire here, that reviewer is a horse's ass. He takes two cheap shots at U2 during that review that are completely false and without any merit whatsoever. Calling Arcade Fire "twice the live band that U2 will ever be" is nonsense (and laughable) - U2 have been at it a lot longer than Arcade Fire and they were good to them as well early in their career taking them out on the road with them (only to have some of the members of Arcade Fire be disrespectful towards them down the road in the press saying some unflattering things about them) (Win Butler also says that his band is one of the best "rock" bands in the world right now) Not too humble is he? (and I don't hear a lot of "rock" in their music)

    Ben Rayner always bashes U2 (that's nothing new) However, Arcade Fire have a very loyal fan base and while they seem to be a good band "live", their music to these ears is very boring and not original at all.

    That said, I ran into 2 different people on the weekend here who loved the shows (as they love Arcade Fire)

    Bottom line = good show or not, you have to take everything that Ben Rayner says with a huge grain of salt as he's a snob and a pompous ass to boot.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  19. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    That is probably true. I've seen Death Cab for Cutie a few times (who I would describe as about as mainstream as Arcade Fire) and each time was at a venue that seats 2-3 K. Seemed small given their status. but it is what it is for bands like that.

    I am guessing that guy never saw u2 in the 80s (neither did I, but I have seen and heard any live footage to know that they were an unbelievable live band back then, and have still been great since despite Bono's pomposity.
     
  20. Johnny Feathers

    Johnny Feathers Member

    Location:
    USA
    I like to think the reviewer was talking strictly about the number of people on stage. In that regard, yeah, Arcade Fire is about twice as big as U2.

    Seriously, while I like Arcade Fire a bit, the number of extemporaneous musicians is a tad silly to behold.
     
  21. friendofafriend

    friendofafriend Well-Known Member

    Location:
    South Jordan, UT
    I’ll say it again: Everything Now is, for me, by far the best thing the band have ever done. It’s full of great songs, catchy, and far more interesting than past albums. Furthermore, it is one of the best releases of the year by anyone. In summary, I love it!
     
  22. guidedbyvoices

    guidedbyvoices Forum Resident

    Location:
    Alpine, TX
    I saw them when funeral came out at a small club and all those people made a huge sound. Hair blown back. I love small bands, 3 or 4 guys doing their thing too. But for arcade fire I like the big sound with the big songs and all of it.

    Except for Will. I really can’t stand that guy. Seems nice enough in interviews but on stage I find him distracting and annoying as hell.
     
  23. Johnny Feathers

    Johnny Feathers Member

    Location:
    USA
    Will, and that red-haired guy. They both drive me crazy, making it look like playing the tambourine is the most difficult, most passionate thing in the world. I think I appreciate the band better when I'm not looking at them.
     
  24. Boswell

    Boswell Forum Resident

    My wife recently purchased this and Beck's newest. I find both albums almost insufferable. This sounds like upper-class art school ironic nothingness. A lot of noise, signifying nothing. Ironic poppiness has to be handled deftly or, this late in the game, it sounds old and empty. Very empty. When bands play the "Shut up and dance" card too often, or at the wrong time, it just aint as fresh as it used to be. Watch a performance of Beck during that ultra-hip Midnight Vultures era where he's pretending to be an R&B alpha! CORNY. This stuff isn't going to age well. Frank Ocean's BLOND is about 100 times fresher, engaging, honest and creative, to my ears.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  25. Squealy

    Squealy Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Vancouver
    Who says either album is intended ironically? Arcade Fire's marketing campaign may have been ironic but I don't think the music is meant to be. And Beck's album seems to be an entirely sincere effort to make something upbeat and positive, no quotation marks around it.
     
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