Sunday, January 28, 2007

I Have a Terrible Confession To Make

Wow, am I ever not proud of this. Today I have done something really very terrible. I am really very ashamed of this, and I hope that all of you out there can forgive me for my actions, and please do not judge me harshly for what I am about to tell you.

I downloaded the Arcade Fire leak. That's right, I couldn't want until March 6th for the official release and I caved. I slowly gathered all of the songs and now I have all 11 from the album on my computer.

Now I am not about to get all high and mighty about violating intellectual property or any of the other thing else associated with this golden age of media piracy that we live in. I really have no moral qualms about downloading music, movies, TV shows or anything really. However, there are some bands and musicians out there who I respect so much that I feel obligated to buy their work. The Arcade Fire definitely fall into that category.

I am a firm believer that a great album is more than just a collection of its songs. It is a full experience as the songs build off of one another to make something really special. The Arcade Fire's debut album Funeral is definitely one of those albums. It definitely belongs in every CD catalog. If you have only heard a few of the songs then you are doing yourself a great disservice and you really need to listen to all 10 songs in succession to capture it all.

So when I began to download the songs yesterday I was doing myself the same disservice. The first song I was able to download (other than the previously released "Intervention" which I discussed way back here) was "My Body is a Cage", which is ironically the last song on the album. Now this song is simply amazing, and probably my favourite song on the album, but I still felt wrong. This song was not meant to be listened to by itself, it was meant to be fit into the context of the entire album. Only now do I have all 11 songs and am just doing my first thorough listen right now as I type this entry.

Yet as I listen to these songs flow together, I feel that I have somehow cheapened my experience. There is something exciting about buying a CD. Allow me to quote my friend Ryan McNutt (who coincidentally introduced me to The Arcade Fire a few years ago, and provided me with the tracks I was unable to find for download, despite the fact that he has refused to listen to them himself)

"For me, there is nothing more exciting than on Tuesday - new release day - going to the record store and finding that album I’ve been dying to hear on display at the front of the store (or with many of my selections, buried way in the back). I get to ponder over the artwork and track listing on the way home, then spend 10 minutes more trying to get the plastic off before putting it in my CD player, sitting back with the liner notes and flipping through them as the album goes through its 30-70 minutes of glory"

I have robbed myself of that experience. Sure I do it all the time, but this is The Freakin' Arcade Fire. A band that I can honestly say without hyperbole is the band of the century thus far. A band that I have honestly felt have spoken to me directly. A band who I love more and more every time I hear them. A band who has unknowingly helped me make some tough decisions in my life. A band who restored my faith in music as a whole. And here I did this to them.

I feel the same way that I did when I snooped in my mom's closet and found some Christmas presents.

But may I move onto some happier topics? Like just how FREAKING AWESOME this album is?

I really don't know what to say about it. I don't think that I am that great at describing songs, especially not in the vivid detail that ones like these deserve.

However, I will try for the aforementioned "My Body is a Cage", the 11th and final song on this amazing album. I have always had a soft spot for the finale track on an album, since it is the song that needs to bring closure to the whole experience. Oddly, on Funeral the final song, "In the Backseat" is the one song that I rank as "Good" as opposed to "F'N SPECTACULAR", but yet when I hear it at the end of the album it fits well. It is somehow relaxing and reassuring after the intense musical experience you have just finished.

This song is the polar opposite of "In the Backseat". The lyrics are deep and cutting, while the organs give the song a distinct 1940's Horror Movie Feel. The real moment of the song, and dare I say the entire album, comes at the 2:10 mark,when the music kicks itself into high gear and you can just imagine the monster waking up. If it doesn't give you goosebumps than I don't know what will. Instead of calming you down, this song gets you pumped and wanting more. Perfect that it it blends well into the opening song "Black Mirror" (which they are streaming off of their website), in case you have this album on repeat.

I could go on for every song on this album, but I figure I had best pass on this one. Just in case you haven't seen it, here is the video promo for Neon Bible which has some good samples of the songs.

At the beginning of this video "Juno Award Winning Guitarist" Richard Reed Parry asks "Do you remember how music used to make you feel?", well now that I have listened to this album I remember it all too well. I have a feeling that my profile will have The Arcade Fire as my most listened to artist next week, they are all I can listen to right now. Because compared to this, everything else is just noise.

Until next time,



McNutt said...

I'm still going strong, dude. Neon Bible remains downloaded but unlistened...

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