An Ode to Arcade Fire

Sometimes I have “ah-ha!” moments regarding artists. I’ll have heard of them and how much others like them. I’ll have listened to a song or two of theirs with no real connection made. I’ll quickly forget about them. Then, out of nowhere, I hear them again, sometimes even the same songs I listened to before, and it just clicks. Ah-ha! At that point, there’s no hope in avoiding an obsession with them.

This recently happened to me with Arcade Fire. I’d heard of them & listened to a couple of their songs, but I just wasn't bought in. A few months ago, though, a friend was listening to Arcade Fire's song “The Suburbs,” and that one song was all it took to suck me in. Thus began my obsession, and I’ve listened to them almost daily ever since.

Why was Arcade Fire relevant at that moment in life and not the moments before when I had given them an opportunity? I think music finds you when you need it most and vice versa, and this moment was the appropriate time for me and Arcade Fire to get together. Arcade Fire and what their music expresses are now relevant to me, when before it just wasn’t applicable. A lot of their songs focus on the theme of growing pains, fitting in (or not), and loss. At this time in my life, I’m experiencing all of those—wondering what my next steps in life are, figuring out where exactly I fit in the world, and dealing with changes in my friendships and relationships. Arcade Fire is an indescribably outstanding band and they create spectacular music, but sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time to really appreciate what an artist is trying to communicate. I’m now in the right place to find the true value in what they’re creating, and I absolutely cannot get enough of it.

With that in mind, here is a list of Arcade Fire songs that I highly recommend you listen to, both for the quality of music and the lyricism on display in each:

1. “The Suburbs.” – “The Suburbs” is just not my favorite Arcade Fire song; it's also one of my all-time favorite songs. It's tricky, actually, because you get drawn in by the upbeat music and only later realize just how serious the lyrics are; at that point, there's no turning back, though, because the song is just too good. The cheerful tone of the instrumentals juxtaposed with the somber lyrics makes for a fantastic song that holds a special place in my heart.

2. “Ready to Start” – If nothing else, you’ll enjoy this song because it’s fun to drive to. There’s a strong appeal in a song that enhances the quality of a car ride. "Ready to Start" was playing the last time I got to see a very good friend that moved away, so the nostalgia connected to the song makes it that much more impactful for me.

3. “Normal Person” – This song is much heavier in sound than some of Arcade Fire’s other productions, but that change of pace is part of what makes it so good. Its rebuffing of what’s “normal” and "acceptable" really coalesces with the instrumentals to get the point across in an meaningful way. Have fun jamming out to this one.

4. “Wake Up” – The harmonies are just extraordinary, for starters. Also, the line “if the children don’t grow up / our bodies get bigger, but our hearts get torn up” is so very profound and an accurate description of adulthood for many folks. "Adulting," as you know, can be hard at times.

5. “My Body is a Cage” – The lyrics to this song are so sorrowful, making it an ideal song to listen to when you’ve had a bad day: “my body is a cage that keeps me from dancing with the one I love.” The instrumentals are very subdued at the beginning and slowly build as the song progresses. If you enjoy dramatic songs, this is one to definitely give a listen.

What are your favorite Arcade Fire songs & why? Comment below!

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