Is Arcade Fire Giving Us TOO Much Content?

Arcade Fire has earned a reputation of hyping of albums and tours with all sorts of interesting stunts and marketing moves. But are they overdoing it with Everything Now? Salon takes a look.

From an outside perspective, it has always seemed like Arcade Fire has aimed to cut the difference between the two sides — art rock and arena rock — and tip the scales away from the direction they’re leaning in any given moment. In 2010, Win Butler, the band’s lead singer and leader, reflected that, “Even when we started out playing little art galleries in Montreal, we’d pick up on a certain level of cool stand-offishness in the crowd and just try and break through it. We wanted to connect with the audience in a way that other groups we played with didn’t seem to really care about.”

Of course, on a subsequent tour Arcade Fire would bring the art galleries to the masses, performing arenas with giant papier-mâché masks over its members’ faces.

The masks may have added a layer between the band and its fans, but they were also theatrical, the sort of grand carnivalesque gesture that you’d expect from Arcade Fire. The band’s recent antics, though, have been harder to square.

In the leadup to Arcade Fire’s fifth major label album, “Everything Now,” the band has pressed select all on meta marketing. It has produced a sugar cereal, USB fidget spinners, satirical Kendall and Kylie Jenner t-shirts and, most recently, a satirical website called “Stereoyum” (a play on the music site Stereogum). The site is full of Arcade Fire content; it is to Stereogum what Clickhole was/is to Buzzfeed. Headlines include “Remember when people used to play Rockband?”; “Advertorial: How to get the cheapest flights guaranteed”; and “Premature Premature Evaluation: Arcade Fire Everything Now.”

That last piece is ostensibly the reason the entire site exists. The article is just what it says it is — an especially premature review of Arcade Fire’s new album — that cleverly preempts criticisms by satirically making them before critics. Thinking of trying to make sense of the way Arcade Fire gave several songs on “Everything Now” the same title? You might feel silly doing so after reading Arcade Fire’s analysis: “There are three songs called ‘Everything Now’ and two called ‘Infinite Content,’ and clearly they’re meant to provide some kind of throughline.”

The rest of the article is definitely worth your time. Read it.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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