Ranking every album from Arcade Fire!
Arcade Fire have been an imposing presence on the indie scene for close to 20 years and have developed a cult fanbase over that period with a string of acclaimed and commercially successful albums and a headline slot at Glastonbury in 2014. With such a strong pool of work to dive into it is certainly a testing task ranking the Canadian indie giants output.
5) Everything Now (2017)
This is probably the most divisive in the groups output. The shift from the indie disco grooves of Reflektor, verging more towards traditional pop and a less guitar driven sound won its fair share of plaudits and heavy criticism. In fairness it is certainly not a terrible record but many Arcade Fire fans wouldn’t leap to listen to this over say Funeral or The Suburbs.
It may perhaps win reappraisal in the years to come perhaps in the manner of REM’s Monster album. Creature Comfort and Electric Blue work well with the transition in sound and electronic influences however it can certainly be said that not every track is a winner.
4.) Neon Bible (2007)
The tricky 2nd album has been unfairly written off by some. Perhaps by the sheer scale of the wall of noise on the groups debut it was an impossible task for this album to receive the same sort of fan reception.
It maintains the group imposing dark sound of Funeral and imbues it with more uptempo polished indie sound which the group would further develop on future releases. No Cars Go and Keep The Car Running remain some of the groups best output. While there is plenty of high caliber quality to be found it perhaps feels less cohesive as some of the higher ranked work on this list.
3) Reflektor (2013)
A fantastic record that acts a Segway of sorts to the jump in sound found on Everything Now. The title track which features backing vocals from the bands frequent collaborator David Bowie is a 7 minute indie disco stomp and coupled with We Exist acts a very strong way to open the album.
Its been noted that the back half of the album is where its highest quality tracks are with the likes of Porno and Afterlife being signaled for high critical praise.
2) The Suburbs (2010)
This will be many’s pick for the groups best album. It is certainly epic , running at 16 tracks. This was in some ways the groups mainstream breakout album, winning them the album of the year award at the 2011 grammys. It is loaded with quality tracks throughout from the title track and Ready To Start to We Used To Wait and the multi part Sprawl.
This album would potentially act as a great intro to Arcade Fire as it encompasses so much of what makes the group work and their distinctive sound with orchestral elements and occasional French language vocals and dueling female and male vocals.
1) Funeral (2004)
This album for me is truly hard to beat and is one of the defining albums of the 2000s indie scene. It is so far removed from much of the music coming out in 2003-4. The impact it has had on the scene is probably comparable to the legacy left by Is This It. It is one of the all time great debut albums with no missteps in sight and a fantastic array of influences on show and an incredible sense of depth and maturity.
While arguably the darkest of Arcade Fire’s release it is hugely rewarding and the multi part set of Neighborhood tracks is truly spellbinding. That’s before we get to Rebellion (Lies) and the show-stopping Wake Up which build to the albums thundering crescendo. This is arguably the groups most clearly defined release and a clear indicator of a band that would leave their mark on the indie landscape.
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Music lover from Surrey with a particular soft spot for Indie/britpop and classic rock. Can be found in the nearest record shop expanding my collection.