Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Arcade Fire - Reflektor Review [Track by Track]

Prior to 2013 my musical selection has been vastly limited to just Hip-Hop. Granted I knew everything there was to know about the genre but beyond some forte's into electronica and trip-hop I haven't enjoyed the beginnings of a new experience with a new genre. After being shown Arcade Fire earlier this year and learning to appreciate their dense lyrics showered over by excellent musical talent led by lead singers and married couple Win Butler and Regine Chassagne. From there on out I dipped my toes in more and more artists related to Indie Rock, including MGMT, Vampire Weekend, and Animal Collective. But I always came back to Arcade Fire as the best, which makes their fourth album, Reflektor, a big deal for me and one of my most anticipated LP's of the year. I'm not alone either, which is why I won't be reviewing the album as a whole but instead by its pieces as copious amounts of reviews have come out both praising this album and decrying it for its drastic departures from Arcade Fire's regular formula.


The opening title track, and first single released from the album, is quite the epic opening. Clocking in at seven and a half minutes, Arcade Fire has also been known for epic pieces of music but Reflektor, as we'll soon find out, is their most ambitious album to date. The title track itself paints a nice picture for the album to come, representing a structured microcosm of what's to come. The track resembles Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) from their opening LP, highly regarded Funeral, and not just for the fact that echoes of Tunnels resonates at the beginning of Reflektor as glitches overtake the once beautiful sweeps of violins. The lyrical content, much like Tunnels, opens the album and describes where Win and Arcade Fire will soon take us. Win's opening remarks hold as a summary for Reflektor as a whole and surmise what the experience is all about:

Trapped in a prism, in a prism of light/Alone in the darkness, darkness of white.
We fell in love, alone on a stage/In the reflective age.

Contractions litter through the lines, much like the album contracts itself throughout, even reflecting through its two discs. Light and darkness have been at the forefront of Arcade Fire throughout their 10+ year tenure as their music over the course of their discography follow the legendary greek legend of Plato's The Cave. With a clear understanding of the tale laid out, Arcade Fire's music takes on a whole different dimension, re-telling the mythological tale of escapement from ignorance, seeing the world, and the inevitable revisiting of the cave, a descent back into darkness. The second line has a double meaning, both reflecting on Win and Regine's marriage and setting up the album's concept with Win taking the place of Eurydice and Regine as Orpheus.

Music-wise Reflektor plays through various movements, climaxing at the three minute mark where something that's truly been lacking in Arcade Fire's music comes through in a dark, trembling bass, thanks to co-producer James Murphy. While the song outlasts its length by a minute or two, drawling out over repeated phrases, the point is made that you are in it for the long run with the album clocking in at 74 minutes. 8/10

We Exist

After the rumbles of Reflektor fade and the album rightfully begins its endeavor, We Exist, and its low bass guitar riff elucidates a feeling of 80's glam pop. One thing, and yet another dimension to the already ever-convoluted album, is its journey through Rock music. Especially on Disc I, Arcade Fire specifically makes grand statements about the various sub-genres of Rock n' Roll. It's a bold move and it's still up to be determined whether it works or not. Each song represents, however vaguely or directly, a genre or artist from the ages of rock n' roll.

Something many critique Arcade Fire about, which I do not agree with, is their sometimes abundance of corniness in their lyrics. I understand where the critique comes from and can see why many believe it, but in most cases these type of lyrics that they show have vast undertones of deeper meanings. We Exist however is rather corny and states it directly, without much to think about other then its inherit meaning. 

They walk in the room/And stare right through you.
Talking like/We don't exist.

In the world of the technological age, distraction is apparent and ever-growing. Phones with everything you could ask for in your pockets distract anyone and everyone from anyone and everyone that surrounds them. But the more important meaning, and one that strikes a chord with many in the country in this day and age, is that of homosexuality and gay marriage. We Exist tells the tale of a gay teen having to deal with his homophobic father who is not accepting of gays because of his religious beliefs. It's a rather intriguing thing to talk about and leaves a normally bland song with something to come back too. 

I've never been a fan of 80's music, never venturing fully into the genre so I may be a bit biased in believing the production isn't all that memorable. It's awfully simple and doesn't feature that charm that many Arcade Fire songs that could be construed as simple have. The morphed and warped bassline towards the middle portion of the song is a nice distinction amongst the rest, and the following, also distorted, piano keys add to the nice conclusion to the track as it slowly reaches it's ending. 6/10

Flashbulb Eyes

Flashbulb Eyes once again takes us in a completely new direction music-wise, introducing us to Arcade Fire's version of old reggie music derived from the Haitian people. It's the shortest song on the album, luckily I might add, considering it's one of the weakest. One of the biggest critiques many reviewers are having with this album is the drastic changes it takes through the first disc. While it makes complete sense as that's what they were planning on doing anyways it somewhat breaks the immersion and attachment you feel when each song acts as a single to that respective genre. What We Exist has in relative meaningful lyrics Flashbulb Eyes lacks, choosing to take a rather bland and lighthearted approach at fame and being in the spotlight. This tried and true content has been done already by the same band throughout the entirety of Neon Bible, their second full-length album. 

Hit me with your Flashbulb Eyes/Hit me with your Flashbulb Eyes.
You know I got nothing to hide, You know I got nothing.

As I've mentioned the lyrical content of this song isn't only forgettable, but down right lazy. I just quoted half the song right there since the first verse and the chorus both repeat over each other before the track rightfully comes to a close. There, once again, isn't a dissection here of lyrics as the telling is on the paper. Excluding the opening track, Flashbulb Eyes continues the tradition of random topics littering the first disc which, as to be expected, has drawn harsh criticisms from a band who is well known for their cohesiveness. 

The production behind the track is relatively unremarkable as well. Nothing makes this track stand out from the others. It does hit a high climax towards the closing that leaves a good taste in your mouth, only for that supposed taste to be squashed entirely by the next, more impressive, song. There seems to be no reason I can see for this track to be included on an album of this caliber, with Arcade Fire already tackling this topic previously, successfully executing reggie in the next track, and it's sheer simplicity. The ending and transition from this to the next track is a rather nice touch however, meaning to insinuate a party, or carnival, which is exactly where Arcade Fire got many influences for this album in down in Haiti. 5/10

Here Comes The Night Time I

The party continues and gets turned up to 11. Here Comes The Night Time is a marvel of epic proportions and the centerpiece of this first disc. After a couple lulls, both being more subdued songs, the beginning of Here Comes The Night Time takes off like a rocket. The sounds, the percussion, the tambourines, the tribal drums, it's all there ready to accept the night time. Unfortunately however, it quickly comes to a close, taking a backseat to the majority of the song which follows a simple kick and bass formula with a grueling, lingering bass line so loud it's hard to ignore. The classic formula of happiness covering sadness is on full effect here with bright, colorful tunes and instruments popping in and out of the track whilst Butler's lyrics speak of things much differently. Night time here isn't meant to express the overarching message of a party, but the lingering underbelly that something bad is approaching; The descent into darkness.

And the missionaries/They tell us we will be left behind.
Been left behind/A thousand times, a thousand times.

Distinct attacks against the preachers that preach across the airwaves for nothing other than money are evident. They tell us, the non-followers, that if you don't listen to them you won't be let into heaven. Arcade Fire asks that's the type of people who are in heaven then there's no point in going anyways, because you might as well look for Hell inside. The lyrics, combination with the production, are a marvel of music telling. No song has been so overtly happy whilst speaking of something so overtly sad since Outkast debuted Hey Ya! in 2003. It's a tried and true formula that I will never get sick of and Arcade Fire has performed this previous in my favorite song by them (Sprawl II). 

But the star of the show, by and large, is the fantastical instrumental work that went into this song to make it a collective piece. I can clearly count over a dozen different instruments, from computer programmed distortion of sounds, to drums conducted by Haitian drummers, and everything in between. It really does resemble a carnival at its climax and far surpasses Flashbulb Eyes in what it was trying to accomplish. The culmination of explosion that occurs around the 4:30 mark is the most memorable moment on the album thus far. It's nearly impossible not to be moving at least 3 parts of your body when it happens, a feeling of surreality doesn't even begin to describe what occurs then. 8.5/10

Normal Person

Every party has to come to an end, but the concert can continue. This leads us to a rather interesting beginning for the following tracks Normal Person, with Win taking full reins, exclaiming through the microphone that he is not sure if he likes Rock n' Roll music. The contradiction is immense and it's suppose to be because what follows is the most obvious Rock n' Roll nod throughout the entirety of the album. This odd intro, and the one that follows in the next track, is an odd thing for Arcade Fire fans to experience, it brings Win close to us, getting to feel his feelings through more than just song. 

I'm so confused, am I a normal person?/You know, I can't tell if I'm a normal person.
It's true I think I'm cool enough, but am I cruel enough?/Am I cruel enough for you?

Here Win exclaims his confused feelings of whether or not he's a normal person. Arcade Fire has spoken about their exclusions from society many a times, and in fact has forced it upon themselves. But no where was it more evident then in the aforementioned Sprawl II where Regine sings beautifully about her being an outcast in society, everyone looking down at her for not being one of them. Win feels the same, confused about whether he is one of them. He knows he's cool enough, but is he cruel enough? The 'normal' person as defined is someone who must be willing to forgo their weirdness in place of conformity, something rather cruel to endure to your own person. One of my favorite lines from the song exclaims that when normal people get excited they try to hide it. Truer words haven't been spoken for normality causes everyone to be subdued, just to fit in with their counterparts. 

Whilst, once again, I feel no love for this type of Rock n' Roll music in much the same fashion as We Exist I feel this one fared better in detailing what a typical rock anthem would sound like with its abrasive chorus as guitar riffs litter the landscape of the wavelengths. Butler's vocals also undergo a transformation as well, echoing stadium rock anthem's, and Regine's appearance, as always, begins a welcome refreshment to the track. What the track may lack in complexity, it gains in bluntness, which again is yet another contradiction arising from this album. 7/10

You Already Know

Another track initiated by a vocal deliver over the microphone, this one introducing Arcade Fire to the masses as they continue their concert of carnivals. Unfortunately however, this You Already Know fails much in the same ways as Flashbulb Eyes with its overly simple take on content, delivery, and memorability. But, in Arcade Fire's defense, you need immaculate moments to have lulls. If it weren't for the explosion occurring midway through Here Comes The Night Time no droughts of musical ingenuity would have occurred, just blandness. You Already Know features nothing to talk about, nothing to ooze over, and nothing to ogle at. It's another rehashed song featuring the same topical content the same band has performed and spoken of at great lengths on their previous records. In this case it's another look at conformity through the guise of a troubled relationship, at least how it looks from the outside. 

When your love is right/When your love is right.
You can't sleep at night/You've been sleeping just fine.

Now don't get me wrong, I do agree with everything Arcade Fire is saying here. My only problem is that they've said it before. The chorus however proposes an interesting question that pertains to those like Arcade Fire, the ones who choose not to change for others, to conform, to become normal. What happens if a relationship you're in feels right from the outside, to society, but not on the inside. Do you change and continue to be yourself or conform to stay with the person you love? Because you'd be damn well sure that the second you find another like-minded individual whom you fall in love with, the level of societal engagement you have will be further dimensioned. But I'm mainly proposing all my points from my own thoughts, the track itself lacks greatly in lyrical content, choosing to partake in repetitive lyrics with no depth, especially the chorus which chants that you already know ad-nauseum.

Sadly the backing behind Win's voice provides little to encourage replay value. It's reminiscent of Month of May, Arcade Fire's most forgettable track in my opinion. The track dulls on for far too long and offers no further interpretive listens to understand its meaning. Nothing remarkable production wise makes it stand out either, being yet another attempt at stadium rock, except fairing less then the track before it which makes its stand on the album miniscule. You Already Know is a huge misstep on an otherwise dense album, and it was at this point in time on my first listen that I was beginning to get worried over the album's quality. Safe to say that from this point on sparks fly and the music becomes otherworldly. 4/10

Joan Of Arc

To close out the first disc we look to Joan of Arc for a impressive closer. In many cases Arcade Fire have always saved their best for last, the drawn out emotional heart-churner of In The Backseat, the wretched stomach-churner of My Body Is A Cage, or the gleefully climax of Sprawl II. And on Reflektor, being a double album, Arcade Fire allows themselves to enjoy a closer; twice. The first sound we hear off the song elicits the classic church pew organ shuffling Arcade Fire is best known for, before quick, deliberate high hats break up the tension as Win rapidly spits the intro to the track before all sound breaks off and the stadium-sized holler of JOAN OF ARC play through the speakers. This all taking place in the first 25 seconds. The song then takes a turn into glam pop, with a forceful, rhythmic bass and guitar line that go in sync with each other turns the song into another beast entirely. I may be overly exaggerating the track slightly but it's impressive use of force and in your face singing makes it an impactful track. The song tells the story of Joan of Arc and the dreams she envisions, whilst also making comparisons to her and the band in relation to the fans that adore each. 

But where were they when they called your name and they lit the fire?/When the voices came, you cut your hair/But you're still confused.

I adore songs that succeed in multi-tasking multiple interpretations and Joan of Arc executes that perfectly. Whilst simultaneously talking about the real life Joan of Arc and her life, Arcade Fire manages to find compares between her following and their own. Joan was burnt at the stake for heresy for her proclamations and when it finally came time to lead her people and fulfill the prophecy Joan cut her hair to relate more to the men that surrounded her. Cutting of hair in Arcade Fire's universe strongly symbolizes a changing of times, a maturation, a loss of innocence, the beginnings of the slow distancing of friendship. Arcade Fire has used this metaphor before in Suburban War off The Suburbs where Win reminisces of a long lost friend who cut his hair and they never saw him again. On Joan of Arc however, Arcade Fire uses this metaphor for the opposite meaning, fitting in, and more specifically, fitting into the mold that is their fanbase. It's an interesting take on two sides of the same coin.

But where the track shines is through the lines, the production that follows behind Butler rumbles like an on-coming thunderstorm. The song does drag on at points throughout its back-end, and the 30 second silence that follows the song to signal the ending of the first disc is rather unnecessary, and as we'll find out later not the latest unfortunate twist Arcade Fire pulls on ending things on this album. But once again stealing the show we have co-singer, wife and darling Regine Chassagne chiming in for a show-stopping sung verse in French and a relentlessly endearing vocal chant following Win's screams of Joan of Arc, simply repeating her name in French immediately thrusts the chorus into one of Arcade Fire's most memorable. 8.5/10

Disc II

Here Comes The Night Time II

Disc II begins with a blimp off a computer, the start-up of something new and drastically different. Don't let the title fool you, this track is nothing like its predecessors, and instead focuses on the rumbling meaning that Here Comes the Night Time I did so well in covering up. It's a magnificent intro and a sign of remarkable things to come. Here, Win and Regine don't spend time fiddling with a happier coverup, choosing to lumber on as meandering computer synths and violin segments intertwine perfectly between their spoken portions. While the lyrics follow some oft-used repetition, the point is clearly and distinctly made that the night time has arrived, Arcade Fire's descent back into the darkness, the Cave, is complete. It foreshadows a dark Disc II and works as a 'brace yourselves' interlude. 

I hurt myself again/along with all my friends. Feels like it never ends/Here comes the night time again.

Once again alluding to Plato's The Cave, Win depressingly declares that the night time, or the darkness in this case, never ends. Shadows that cast along the cave walls illuminated by the fire behind the prisoners grudges on infinitely. The darkness that those unwilling or unable to force themselves out of will forever remain, Plato's interpretation basically boils down to humanity's ignorance towards everything around them. No where better has Arcade Fire spoke to this fact then on Sprawl II when their eventual realization that the world isn't as grand as they had once hoped forces them to consider revisiting the Cave when Regine so beautiful utters that 'she needs the darkness, someone please cut the lights.' The pain and heartache she's encountered while in The Suburbs forces her and all those truly enlightened, as Plato lays out, to reconsider their endeavors towards enlightenment for those that become truly enlighten about the world around them suffer the most. As the saying goes, ignorance is bliss. 

Here Comes the Night Time II, with its short and deliberate time stamp, refuses to make much of a mark stylistically, especially with its placement at the pedestal of the next four tracks. It's not meant to be grandiose or large however, it's meant to be small, quiet, and telling. The one moment of awe occurs when Win begins his third verse. The sound dissipates for just a second, a second being long enough to catch your breath before a blaze of bass and a barrage of synths that bounce off the wall like ping pong balls hits your earlobes. It's an astounding moment and before your appreciation for it grows the song finally trails off and the two part centerpiece of the album rightfully begins. 6.5/10

Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)

And thus begins what I feel is easily the strongest four song stretch this year. Awful Sound and conjoining track by sub-name It's Never Over act as the collective centerpiece of Reflektor and not just for it's mythology story-telling, these are arguably the two best songs on the album as well. Awful Sound specifically is an experience, something you'll never forget listening to for the first time because of its unusual approach, drastic moments, deep lyrics, and obvious ode to the music of The Beatles. A eery drumline, constant throughout most of the song, begins its strong descent into our subconscious of things to come. When Win begins to sing about the little town, the awful sounds, and the kids running down you know you're in for something special. The journey of the song takes us through multiple levels of Arcade Fire thinking, with the mythology of Eurydice and Orpheus taking the center stage. 

But when I say I love you/Your silence covers me. Oh, Eurydice/It's an awful sound. 

For anyone unaware of the myth, it follows Orhpeus, famed musician in his time, whilst his wife, Eurydice, gets placed in the underworld and requires Orpheus to seek her out. Upon his arrival he was allowed to take Eurydice home under one condition, that being he cannot look back to see if she is following him out of the underworld. In this case, Win and Regine play the roles of Orpheus and Eurydice respectively, in an ingenious idea for a concept album. The awful sound in the track with the same name represents different things throughout the song. In the above quote it refers to Eurydice's silence following his appraisal of love for her. The words 'awful sound' appear twice more, the first a flashback to Arcade Fire's earlier times through the Neighborhood's, while the third is the awful sound that is Eurydice's body hitting the ground after her flight is cut short.

Speaking of which, the usage of that awful sound in the context of the song is one of the most memorable moments in all of Arcade Fire's music. Twice during the track the constant build, a rising tide of instrumental work, billows in the bottleneck awaiting to explode. . .only for everything to cut out and a strong, forceful drum dance takes all the hope and feelings out of you before quickly restoring them in a chorus wholly reminiscent of The Beatles' work. The production, with its rather insane amount of different instruments, is easily the greatest strength of Awful Sound. The drastic fluctuations of tunes may startle many but it works wonders here, with different movements signaling different moments in the age old myth. To put the icing on the cake the final, most utterly breathtaking cries of "La La's" that directly link to Hey Jude's final cries build on top of each other, increasing in volume, something many artists shy away from doing, before in a remarkable statement at its greatest climax of the album all the sounds, feelings of happiness, emotions of sadness, and moments of exhilaration wipe out in a matter less than a fraction of a heartbeat, literally taking everything you've ever felt up until this point away. 9.5/10

It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)

After the cataclysmic ending of Awful Sound, which to be frank was an awful sound, the beginnings of It's Never Over play an even larger role in the grand scheme of the album. The song itself, part II if you will of the mythology retelling, takes on a largely different sounding approach. Synths on all levels of the wavelength bounce back and force as we eagerly anticipate Regine's soon to be expected song, considering it would make sense. Disappointingly however we do not get that. In fact, my biggest disappoint with this whole album is the sincere and utter lack of Regine playing any significant role in a song or two. The tale of Eurydice and Orpheus requires both roles and yet, while It's Never Over does start with Regine's beautiful ballad, Win quickly takes over, parading through the song alongside Regine. Now this does make for some incredible back and forth singing and storytelling as Eurydice urges Orpheus to sing for him ("Hey Orpheus!").

We stood beside the frozen sea/I saw you out in front of me.
Reflected light, A hollow moon/Oh Orpheus, it's over too soon.

After circling back and forth on their journey out of the underworld, waiting until it's all over, in one final swoop, with Orpheus passing over the Styx River and back onto Earth he looks back and sees Eurydice following behind him, except she still walks in fertile ground and is thus, in accordance to Hades request, trapped in the underworld forever. The entire song acts as a journey, the use of both lead singers in turn makes this track a largely memorable one, with catchy hooks, extraordinary phases, and masterful singing through emotion. Eurydice's voices echoes behind Orpheus throughout the track, coming through bright and as equal in the final line as they stand at opposite ends of the river, feeling the sense of impending dread as their lives forever fade apart. 

Much like Awful Sound, the track itself revolves around its drastic use of spacious production and sparse moment of silence. These two tracks will forever go hand in hand and rightfully so. Easily the best lyrical song on the album, the falsettos and pronunciations that the duo share make for some of the best sing-along tunes you'll dare to encounter. Win's incessant hollers of "Boy, they're gonna eat you alive" and Regine's backing vocal verse which through the middle portion of the song, acting as a barrier between both lovers with his trailing behind, is a fantastic use of bringing thematic story-telling elements into vocal cues in a song. Whilst the singing and pitches uttered by Win and Regine have top honors in a song so dramatic, the guitar riffs, rapid fire high hits, silent echoes of tambourines, and use of slow build through instrumentation make It's Never Over one of the most memorable tracks on the album. 8.5/10


The following track, Porno, after the sequel of tracks quick and utter departure is in vast contrast to the previous two, and in reality, a vast contrast to all of Arcade Fire tracks to date. The track starts off with fingers snapping before a overly synthetic, pulsating computer riff comes in full force and enjoys its stay throughout the track. It's a huge risk for Arcade Fire and their fans alike after growing accustomed to the band's live instrumentation and use of airiness and simplicity in songs such as Haiti and Une Annee Sans Lumiere. Whether it works or not is largely reliant on the listener and their previous ventures into the electronic genre since this is by far the most James Murphy-dependent track on the album. Putting the music itself aside for a second the tale of this song and its lyrical content is easily the most interesting part about it, beginning even with its title. Win decries throughout this song about female sexuality and more importantly, men's (referred to as little boy's here) immaturity towards them. Pornography in towards age has morphed the female body, and in essence their personality, into an object that men ogle at rather then appreciate as their counterpart.

You can cry, I won't go/You can scream, I won't go/Every man that you know, would have run at the word go/Little boys with their porno, Oh I know they hurt you so/They don't know what we know, never know what we know.

Win here, rather strongly, disagrees with the notion of Pornography and its use of brain feeding boys into believing that woman are nothing more than things, things used for sexual pleasure. Whenever their true emotions arise they would rather abandon those they feel attached to physically and find another 'prey' than stay to comfort and put their feelings of excitement aside. Win later cries out, strikingly accurate I may add, that this is their world. It has become commonplace now to treat woman, even those you love, as objects simply used for the benefit of sexual arousal. Following this message he leads with another that all this sexual simplification makes him feel like something's wrong with him. Yet again another leading thing throughout the course of Reflektor is that of Arcade Fire feeling as outsiders. In fact, much of their music, ever since their first album where they were labelled as pretentious, has been about rejecting the society that surrounds them. This is just another expression of that. 

Sonically speaking however is where this track gets most of its discussion. That's really saying something after understanding the lyrical content Win is offering. As mentioned before, a wholly synthetic bassline hums along, bouncing off the two speakers, throughout the entirety of the song. This, in my opinion, is it's strongest negative side for I feel, while the sound itself is great, lasts far too long and becomes repetitious. The chorus brings out various sounds that help alleviate the repetition, such as cascading synthetic beams. In fact, almost every instrument used in the song, excluding a small usage of guitar that follows the chorus, is entirely computer-oriented. This will easily divide most Arcade Fire fans as their music, for the most part, has been down to earth, folk-like, indie rock. With its strong message, conscious cries against humanity, genius usage of Regine as a backing vocal much like woman's opinions in all of this, and the risky production attempts makes for an overall enjoyable song to keep the Disc II streak alive. 8/10 


It's almost come to an end. Afterlife has begun. And the first thing we hear in one of Arcade Fire's most splendid, dazzling songs if the girl that holds the entire group together. Regine, with a simple two tone "Oh Oh's" brings the song to new heights. It's beautiful, charming, delightful, and most of all infectious, something Regine is known for succeeding brilliantly in. The band, once again, uses the positive overtones mixed with depressing lyrics here, except in this case it's much more apparent. The entire song, whilst being a celebration of life that came before, is much more a defaming of the life that comes after and us as humans belief in it. The song follows Here Comes The Night Time and many other Arcade Fire songs in exclaiming Religion's wrongful attempts at coloring what comes after to explain for the trauma that comes before.

Afterlife/Oh my god, what an awful word. 

Win's opening lyrics are not only a clever play on the long used sigh of pain, but also an open declaration of the atrocity that is the word Afterlife. The lines following positions Win in a state of wonder as if to what happens after the fires, breaths, ambulances and mourning end. But all he cares about, and as so harmonically sung in the chorus, is Eurydice, asking whether or not him and his lovers can work it out. It's an ode to Ocean of Noise off Neon Bible where the same phrase is uttered. It's an outcry of love after death. Two lovers, Eurydice and Orpheus, one last time meet each other in the afterlife and wonder, whilst singing it together, if they can work it out. The rest of the song ponders this same message if lovers stay together after death. It's an interesting take because while Arcade Fire consistently blasts Christians for their blinded followings of something so fake and exposed, they simultaneously manage to use Heaven and the Underworld, two inherit Christian beliefs, to describe the marriage of themselves and their inherit worry, just like everyone else on this planet, for what comes after. 

The track itself is easily the most Arcade Fire-esque track on the record, using the same 80's glam rock influenced bass line, synthetic strands and guitar riffs as Sprawl II, another song which sonically has great comparison to this. The sounds are pleasant, beautiful and inviting. It's an easy listen and something you could show off to friends who have a passing interest in the group as an icebreaker. The chorus, Regine's harmonic ad-libs, and the slow pan down as horns ablaze themselves in the background are easily the best parts of this stellar track, an appropriate ending to all things Orpheus/Win and Eurydice/Regine. 9/10


As the song fades out however and Win's crooning of the afterlife with just you die down, leaving only the airy space between reality and death, Supersymmetry properly begins. A final credits type track where the life Win and Regine share in the afterlife is fully explained as they look back upon the past that they realized they loved far too late. It's a haunting track, using sparse, quiet, computer blimps and bloops mixed with oft kilter tribal drum patterns make this track one of the most beautiful, through its simplicity, on the album. Within this song the term supersymmetry is meant to incite perfection between two people, as if holding up a mirror between both of them will do nothing but cause their exact movements to persist. They were always meant for each other, from the first time they met alone on the stage in the reflective age. Here however we soon realize that the narrator is in fact not dead and is simply mourning the loss of his loved one, sometimes hearing her echoes in the back of his head as he reads books, recalling his past memories. 

It's been a while since I've been to see you/I don't know where, but you're not with me.
Heard a voice, like an echo/But it came from you.

Win hasn't visited the grave of his lost love in a while and begins to wonder where she actually is. Supersymmetry is also used in particle physics to describe two objects in entirely different universes, in this case life and death, and how, despite their distance from each other, they still counter each other in perfect harmony, much like Win and Regine do in this song. While one sings the song in life, the other follows suit in perfection in death, and vice versa. 

The most remarkable aspect of this song however is the musical buildup following the pair's "La La's" when something finally resembling a beat, with a percussion and high hat combine to form something inherit beautifully. Match that with the building synths and the pulsating rhythmic orchestral haunts that carry the track down to its halfway point and you have something to cry over, both in joyous celebration and indefinite sadness. What's most interesting and many seem to forget is that Win is not the only one singing these same tunes. All the lines are repeated perfectly by Regine on the other side of the reflector as she grieves much like him. Then, in what many feel, including myself, as serious overkill the remaining 5+ minutes of the track are left to instrumental fodder, sporadic violin haunts, and what seems like the entire Arcade Fire catalogue being played in rapid succession in reverse. If only that were truly the case and it were more noticeable I'd be inclined to listen to it. I understand why it was done however, because as many over the internet have found out, the two halves are perfectly symmetrical to each other. Meaning you can play them forwards and backwards at the exact same time and the same effect will be given. It's a rather clever ending but not something I appreciate musically. 7/10

So there you have it. Another Arcade Fire magnum opus has glistened our earlobes, conjuring up numerous, never-ending, discussions on the meanings, motives, motifs, and everything in between. While many have chosen to disliking the album for its discombobulated first half, its stark departure from their previous works, and the lack of cohesion as I whole, I personally think it's one of the best albums of the year, successfully bringing together a vast ray of emotions through lyrical diversity and musical greatness. Arcade Fire at this point is the biggest and best band on the planet and it shows, they are now four for four (at least in my book) of quality albums, Reflektor will have no trouble stacking up against the rest when its turn to settle down has hit. 9/10

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