Will Arcade Fire Hit #1?

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


ARCFIRENEONBIBLE.jpg
I can’t believe I’m typing this, but it seems entirely possible that Arcade Fire, the iconoclastic Canadian underground indie-rock mega-combo, may ride a wave of publicity to the top of the US charts this Tuesday (3/6) with their sophomore album Neon Bible. They just performed on SNL (also, apparently, doing an off-stage number right after the show just for the studio audience) and they’re all the blogs can talk about. They also remain one of two bands who have ever made me, ahem, misty-eyed at a live performance. (Okay, fine: the other was Low. All those other times, I just had something in my eye, really.)

New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones was a little late to the party on the Fire, but makes up for it with a fine article this week. He follows the band around to their recent London shows (lucky!!!) and admires their lo-fi tendencies by saying it’s “hard to imagine” them ever using a cordless microphone. I found that reference kind of amusing: capping off the aforementioned tear-inducing performance (at Coachella in 2005), lead singer Win Butler unplugged his mic and threw it in a high arc out over the massive crowd (see that at the end of this video here). It sounds silly now, but it was a heart-stopping moment, capping off probably the greatest live show I’ve ever seen in my life. I guess that doesn’t really count as a “cordless mic,” though, does it.

I’ve heard Neon Bible (like anyone with DSL has at this point), and it’s great. There probably aren’t any breakout hits (like “Rebellion (Lies)” from their debut album Funeral) but that seems kind of the point: the new songs unroll at their own pace, like hymns, without hurrying to a pop “hook.” This is a band who adamantly refuse to license any music (even, apparently, for Oscar-winning, if supremely hacky, directors), and who are so DIY, they can manage to screw up a charity single upload. Nothing against Norah Jones, but if they knock her off the #1 spot, it will be kind of exhilarating.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate