Friday, December 11, 2009

Top 25 Albums of the 2000s, #10 - "Neon Bible," Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire’s “Neon Bible” announces its greatness in the first few moments of “Black Mirror,” the album’s first song, and it never lets up until the final, spine-tingling chords of “My Body Is A Cage,” 10 songs later.

Led by the husband & wife team of Win Butler and Regine Chassagne, the band takes the kitchen sink approach to many of its songs, including instruments that you wouldn’t normally associate with an “indie band” – violin and viola, cello, French horn, accordion, hurdy gurdy, and mandolin, among others. The richness and diversity of the musicianship lends the songs an epic scale, even on the slower tempo tunes. And on a song like “No Cars Go” where the tempo is fast and all the stops are pulled out, there is an almost cinematic scope to the music – it’s almost as if the band is going to leap right out of the speakers, because the stereo system simply can’t contain the music.

“Neon Bible” is incredibly diverse in its musical approach – “Black Mirror” sounds nothing like “Keep the Car Running,” which sounds nothing like “Neon Bible,” which sounds nothing like “Intervention,” which sounds nothing like “No Cars Go,” and so on…but whatever the approach, it all works. And while Butler may technically not be a great singer, his vocals lend the proceedings an urgency that is crucial to the success of the songs.

“Black Mirror”

“Keep the Car Running”

“Neon Bible”


“No Cars Go”

“My Body Is A Cage”

That last moment of “My Body Is A Cage” really says it all – without doubt, one of the great musical moments of the decade.

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