Album Review: WE- Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire has returned after what feels like a very long five years. I’ve been following the trajectory of the band for well over a decade at this point and I do think it’s safe to say the second half of their discography has been a bit of a slump. Their third album, The Suburbs, is one of my favorite albums of all time and sticks out as a part of recession-era indie gold. Since then, we got 2013’s Reflektor, a great album in it’s own right, but were given a stark change in sound and style in 2017’s incredibly disappointing Everything Now. Everything Now leaned into the more pop/dance elements of Reflektor but took it a little bit too far. It was a huge artistic risk that I respect to this day, but if I’m being honest, it didn’t pay off.
WE, Arcade Fire’s sixth album released on May 6th, is a very welcome return to form. I wouldn’t necessarily say we are returning to the levels of Funeral, Neon Bible, or The Suburbs, but we are trending in the right direction. The songs feel a lot more earnest with this go-around too. Specifically, “Unconditional Love I (Lookout Kid)” speaks to the listener like a bit of welcome-acoustic advice from someone who’s experienced more of the ups and downs of life and wants to offer us their wisdom.
One thing I’ve always really admired about Arcade Fire is their energy. That might sound generic, but I feel it in the way their music builds, like the transition from “The Lightening I” to the “The Lightening II” where the music goes faster and you can feel more and more layers of instrumentation being added. It's a really exciting moment on the album.
I don’t think WE has the staying power of the earlier work of Arcade Fire, but I am really satisfied with the comeback that it gives us. I liken it to The Strokes’ comeback with The New Abnormal. It wasn’t Is This It (Because no album ever will be), but it was a damn good return after a long hiatus and I will definitely continue to re-visit.