Arcade Fire outdoes themselves with new single, 'Everything Now'
Indie band’s comeback track remains as emotive, diverse as ever
Indie rock band Arcade Fire’s new single, “Everything Now,” is a masterful comeback anthem after the band’s four-year hiatus. In this single, the seven-piece band from Montreal showcases their limitless capacity to blend diverse sounds, numerous instruments, poetic lyrics and both chipper and somber rhythms to create music meant to be enjoyed the way one enjoys a painting or a poem — presenting rock as a delicate craft that listeners can both contemplate and dance to.
The 16-year-old band has a long and fruitful history with four critically acclaimed albums, the third of which won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year and a BRIT Award for Best International Album, as well as countless other awards and nominations in several countries. “Everything Now” is a teaser for the band’s fifth studio album of the same name, which is expected to release July 28 by Columbia Records.
Formed in 2001 by high-school classmates Win Butler and Josh Deu, the band has altered its style, location and members throughout the years, with eight former members on top of the six that remain at the core of the band, which includes Butler’s wife, Régine Chassagne. The band’s large size is necessary to produce the layered, symphonic sound channelled through their use of many instruments rarely used in the rock world, ranging from the guitar to the viola, French horn and the harp. These instruments travel with the band on tours and are played by multiple members. It’s the fusion of these unique instruments, coupled with Butler’s elegiac lyrics, that has helped give nuance to the band’s sophisticated and rich sound.
“Everything Now” adds perfectly to the band’s discography of refined and artful music. The single breathes life and genius through its bright and upbeat piano riffs and introspective lyrics, proving that Arcade Fire has not lost the ability to produce substantive, heartfelt music that remains easy on the ears and easy to get lost in, both emotionally and audibly.
Butler’s compelling voice sings of modern pleasures, overstimulation and instant-gratification, claiming “Every inch of space in your head / Is filled up with the things that you read,” and “Every song that I’ve ever heard / Is playing at the same time, it’s absurd … I guess you’ve got everything now.” This social commentary about the way people have everything at their fingertips is as interesting as it is observant and smart, making listeners ponder these modern phenomenons for themselves.
While the lyrics could possibly be interpreted as bleak or wistful, the music itself is animated, sprightly and feel-good, with audible influence from other artists. The cheerful piano playing throughout the song is reminiscent of “Mamma Mia,” “Dancing Queen” and other famous hits from Swedish pop group ABBA. The sound cannot be ignored when listening to the track. “Everything Now” also captures the essence of the late David Bowie, who has contributed to vocals on Arcade Fire’s fourth album, “Reflektor,” and joined them onstage for performances when the band was first gaining fame.
With big names — such as Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Pulp’s Steve Mackey — behind the production of the single and soon-to-be-released album, the outcome is top-notch, making for a harmonically-rich sound that leaves little to be desired.
The deep, meaningful lyrics of the track, coupled with the cheery, funky and musically diverse instrumentals is what makes “Everything Now” a juxtaposed piece of art that can be dissected over and over again. If this single is anything like the full album will be, it’s safe to say that Arcade Fire may be in the process of creating another exquisite album.