Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Desert Island Discs: Neon Bible


I’m avoiding work by writing another desert island post. Another album that I haven’t been able to get enough of since it came out is Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible. I love it so much, I get excited when I hear it on the radio in the video store. It’s like I have a personal investment in other people liking Neon Bible because that’s how much I like it. As though I might benefit from others liking it, like I know the band or something (I don’t.)

But I think I figured out at least some of the reasons why I love Neon Bible. Mostly, it’s very complex. It’s complex sonically – it doesn’t sound like anything else I know of. It even sounds kind of different from the first Arcade Fire album. Maybe just a bit more epic (hard to imagine). It’s not only that it’s distinctive, though, it’s also that all the layers and compositional eccentricities leave me new things to hear even after several times through. Really, that’s also why I like the album lyrically. The lyrics are dense and interesting. Their meaning isn’t abundantly clear or static, but they aren’t so abstract that one can assume they lack meaning (like, say, the lyrics of Coldplay). If I listen carefully, I might hear something new there too. Also, as the title indicates, there’s an overarching theme of religion in culture. That’s kind of something I’m interested in. You know, a little.

As though I haven’t raved enough, there are also just some moments that I really love. I love the opening of “Keep the Car Running,” and the string part throughout because it’s innovative and it reminds me of my orchestra days. I like trying to figure out what “Intervention” is about, I like the anger of “(Antichrist Television Blues)” and the wistfulness of “No Cars Go.”

To summarize, this album isn’t like anything else. You should listen to it. Seriously. At least 3 times before you decide you don’t like it.

Here are some other desert island reviews:

Details

Why Should the Fire Die
Achtung Baby
Ohio

3 comments:

Katherine said...

I love this one, too! It surprises me that I like it as much as I do, especially since I was totally turned off by Win Butler's guitar smashing episode on SNL- and that was the first time I'd heard them.

Blake said...

I'm with you, Bethany. This is one of the best albums of the year, no doubt. Interestingly, with the religion theme, they recorded the album in an old church they bought and lived in during the recording process. That also explains the presence of the massive church organ (Intervention, My Body Is A Cage). Erin and I saw them when they played in Atlanta last May, best show I've ever attended.

Morgan said...

I do love this album as well, and though I love No Cars Go, I have to say the lyrics make me giggle sometimes in the absolute simplicity of them. That's probably the point, but at the same time, I feel like the lyrics are so simple they kind of border on dumb.

Don't get me wrong, I still love that song, I'm just not sure if I buy the lyrics or not.

Either way, it's better than "I like you the way you are when we're driving in your car."