Funeral – Arcade Fire

Released September 14, 2004 it was critically lauded as one of the best debut albums ever. Having appeared on over a dozen “Greatest Albums of the year/decade/all time” lists. It is widely acknowledged as a modern classic.

Jason: Hi there. This is the most entertaining funeral ever.

Brad: Yes. Kind of like a New Orleans style funeral.

Jason: I make a Second Line when I listen to “Haiti”.

Brad: I love that song! It’s my favorite of the album.

Jason: Mine too. This is the first album in our list that really sounds like a well thought out concept rather than a collection of related songs.

Brad: Yeah, it seems like more of a concept album…inspired by death.

Jason: Right. Because this album came after they all experienced a loss in their lives. It’s amazing that this is 15 years old already because you still hear “Wake Up” pretty often – although mostly in movie trailers and car commercials now.

Brad: “Wake Up” is such a big arena anthem sing a long song. I get why it is still played often and has grown in popularity over the years. It was never really a hit song but it feels like it was because everyone knows it now.

Jason: I like their sound. It’s unique, timeless, and still very contemporary. Although I think Everything Now is my favorite album of theirs.

Brad: I love all of their albums. I think The Suburbs is my favorite. They are one of the best live bands around. All of their songs sound better played live. I have seen them every time they have come to Chicago since 2005.

Jason: If someone said to me “I bet you can’t even name 3 songs by Arcade Fire” I would say “I can name four! Neighborhood #1, Neighborhood #2, Neighborhood #3, Neighborhood #4”.

Brad:  Ha. Although, I usually refer to those songs by their subtitles.

Jason: They seem like a band that is fun on the outset but when you listen to their lyrics they can be kind of melancholy.

Brad: I agree with that but I also feel like their music celebrates life which includes the bad stuff too.

Jason: You are usually ahead of the curve with new music, do you remember when you first heard them?

Brad: Yes, in fact you are responsible for it.

Jason: YES! Let’s hear this story (because per usual I have no recollection of this.)

Brad: Your ex-coworker, Rob, burned me the CD and asked you to pass it on to me because he thought I would like it.

Jason: Oh. I was hoping for “You heard them at a private listening party and really encouraged me to seek them out and I will be forever grateful.” Not that I just handed you someone else’s mixtape.

Brad: Well, you played a part. You could have thrown it in the garbage. Thus changing the trajectory of our lives forever. (I just finished watching Russian Doll).

Jason: I am reading Emily of New Moon per Natasha Lyon’s insistence. I’ll see if there is any correlation to Arcade Fire.

Brad: That would freak me out.

Jason: When you first heard that CD were you immediately blown away?

Brad: It took a few listens to fully get into it but I loved it. Although, I think once I saw them in concert. I really became a fan. Now I’m a fan for life.

Jason: What do they call Arcade Fire fans? Arcade Fire Fighters? Arcade Fire Starters?

Brad: I don’t think they have a catchy name for the fans.

Jason: I’ll coin one: The Arcade Fire Brigade!

Brad: Sure.

Jason: Does their line-up change a lot or is it the same people? I know some bands have a few core members but rotate out others per album.

Brad: It is the same core people but there are usually some additional musicians that vary by the tour. Win and Regine are married and they alternate lead vocals. Win is usually lead but Regine is lead on a couple songs per album. Regine’s songs are always my favorite but I wouldn’t necessarily want her to be lead on all the songs. So it seems like they know how to strike a balance which works especially well during the live shows.

Jason: Kind of how I like the songs that Martin Gore writes but I don’t need him singing all of them. 

Brad: I agree with that as well.

Jason: Funeral set the bar really high for a debut album. Do you feel that they have grown with each album?

Brad: They have grown as artists. I love that they aren’t afraid to take risks and try new things. Although, it seems like the critics did not like the latest album Everything Now at all. I thought that album was pretty great too just different.

Jason: It’s more commercial and catchy, which is probably why I like it.

Brad: They were friends with David Bowie and he really admired their music. I like to think they are trying to follow in his footsteps by trying new sounds.

Jason: That’s what you want in an artist. Not the same thing over and over (*cough* Pitbull *cough*)

Brad: I just recently added Funeral to my vinyl collection. What would you grade this album?

Jason: An A-. You?

Brad: Definitely an A. I regard this one already as a classic.

Jason: So you would put your money on them.

Brad: I’m logging off.

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Below is the scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.

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