Entertainment Magazine

Arcade Fire’s Reflektor is Probably My Album of the Year.

Posted on the 11 November 2013 by Kdcoduto @katydee

The hype leading up to Reflektor, the fourth album from Arcade Fire, has verged on unreal. Performing secret shows as the Reflektors, posting mysterious posters weeks before the first single, releasing an interactive music video that requires both cell phone and laptop – it almost became impossible to imagine that this album would actually be that good.


But it is. Arcade Fire have created an album that is easy to fall in love with; a few listens is all it takes. Arcade Fire had to follow up 2011’s The Suburbs, the surprise winner of the Album of the Year Grammy, with something that took the band on to their next step. While The Suburbs was grand and sprawling, inviting new listeners in, Reflektor does more. You can call it their Achtung Baby or OK Computer, whatever you want to compare it to – this is Arcade Fire’s most momentous album yet.

Most songs clock in at over five minutes. It’s technically a double album, although first disc closer “Joan of Arc” flows right into “Here Comes the Night Time II.” Is it excessive? Yes. There are certainly times when the album feels like it should be dragging on – but it never hits that point. Just when the listener begins to feel pent up and trapped in a song, the tempo changes and the James Murphy-led production shifts to something new and often refreshing.

It’s exciting to hear Arcade Fire taking on danceable beats and crafting throbbing songs that advance their sound. The Haitian influence has been widely talked about, evident in many of the songs, including the opening of “Here Comes the Night Time” and throughout “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice).” Win Butler and Regine Chassagne are still perfect together, the couple’s harmonies shining through on each track, especially as Chassagne never sings lead on this album.

The intensity of “Normal Person” makes it one of the best tracks, especially as it sets an anxious tone that resonates. “Porno” might have the most James Murphy dance rock hallmarks out of any of the tracks, while “Afterlife” is actually the best song of the set. “Flashbulb Eyes” in the shortest song out of all of them, clocking under three minutes and connecting “We Exist” and “Here Comes the Night Time.” “Joan of Arc,” with its resounding “Joan of Arc” repeated chorus, is a powerful ending to the first disc, while “Supersymmetry” teases the listener right to the end, trailing off over 11 minutes.

Is this album perfect? Not quite. But it verges on it so often, and it can definitely be considered triumphant for a band that suddenly has a lot of expectations to meet. Win Butler sings at one point, “Do you like rock and roll music?/Cause I don’t know if I do.” While Butler might be doubting the genre he’s suddenly in command of, it’s bands like his that keep this music exciting at all – and bands like Arcade Fire that make many listeners fall in love with it all over again.

Listen to Reflektor and fall in love.

This article is also going to appear on BlackSquirrelRadio.com & was originally written for that website.

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