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Arcade Fire’s Funeral & Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief

April 10, 2009
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This week I rediscovered Funeral, Arcade Fire’s debut. Like Neon Bible, I was late to listen to Funeral when it first came out and I didn’t own it until this week. Just as the first time I heard it, it’s one of the most refreshing albums I’ve ever heard. I remember my only problem then (this was 2005 I think) was most of their songs sound like marches. But with this listen, I realized it really ties the tracks together to make it a concept album; most of the tracks are death marches.

In the first few hours of work, I mixed Funeral’s tracks with Hail to the Thief, an album I don’t full appreciate. Even with all the critics shouting in unison “inconsistent!” about Radiohead’s Amnesiac, I loved it – and this was something they allowed of their follow-up, Thief. Both Thief’s and Amnesiac’s tracks may be inconsistent with one another, but at least Amnesiac sounded like it was made by the same band (unlike Thief). Also, this was the same band that made two of the most complete records since the Beatles; but unlike the Beatles, OK Computer and Kid A were completely different from one another. Back to Hail to the Thief: not that it’s similar to Funeral, but the two do sound well together, “There There” into “Rebellion (Lies)” and “Neighborhood#1 (Tunnels)” into “Sail to the Moon,” to name a few.

Kudos to Jen for (among other things) showing me the N+7 machine. I haven’t put it to full use, but it’s an interesting way to look at language – the machine generates new nouns for a block of text you submit, by looking up other nouns in your original work’s neighborhood. I’m working on a new poem (“Tiger, tiger”) this week, and I’d like the machine to help. Even if it doesn’t directly, it’s been helpful just shedding the importance of “that one word” and looking at my work differently. (And it has it’s flaws: it failed to generate a +7 for “kudos,” a noun from the 19th century.)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2009 7:57 PM

    I never found Amnesiac to be at all band-consistent. The first three tracks alone create a very strange precedent of schizophrenia, offering little compositional unity. “Pulk/Pull” is a very jarring piece thrown after such a majestic “Pyramid Song.” That said, I am very curious to test out more Arcade Fire links – I was thoroughly entertained when testing your mixes. Thanks for the insightful blog!

  2. eyepatchplease permalink*
    April 11, 2009 10:22 AM

    One point I could have made clearer:
    When I said that “this was the same band that made two of the most complete records since the Beatles; but unlike the Beatles, OK Computer and Kid A were completely different from one another” I meant to point out that fans were especially hard on Amnesiac because it followed their duo masterpieces. While I certainly see your points, and I agree about “Pulk/Pull,” I think people weren’t as forgiving for Amnesiac as they were Hail to the Thief. Is it possible that fans liked Thief because they were rebounding from their disappointment of Amnesiac?

    But I’m not trying to argue you into liking Amnesiac – it’s been all mine these past years, and I like it that way.

  3. April 11, 2009 9:54 PM

    Thanks for the kudos! Hey- there are some phrases I get nothing out of, bleh. I am looking forward to seeing how “tiger, tiger” comes out. I think you’re off to a great start!

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