Friday, September 13, 2013

TRACK REVIEW- Arcade Fire: Reflektor - It Grooves But Does It Engage You Emotionally?

When I first heard Reflektor, the much anticipated single from the upcoming Arcade Fire album of the same name I said out loud, "What the fuck?" I had a similar reaction when I heard Queen's Back Chat and Blondie's Heart of Glass. Now don't get me wrong, we all knew that the inclusion of LCD Soundsytem's frontman James Murphy could stir dance beats into the fray but I guess I didn't envision it sounding so, well, old school disco like. I mean Arcade Fire has been a cherished part of my indie / art rockish persona because I can't dance. Indie rock is the perfect place for people like me who, yes, have wonderful rhythm but they don't translate well to my lower extremities. I am much better at the normal indie rock forms of movement like bobbing my head and getting that one leg going a bit, or moshing even, and don't forget the inevitable crowd surfing. I am pretty sure that they didn't do any crowd surfing at the legendary Studio 54.

But seriously, Reflektor has many of the hallmarks of American disco, the thump kick drum, programmed percussion, plucky formulaic bass lines as well as that more hybrid Euro-dance feel of bands like Depeche Mode and The Cure even (and I do like that). It is musically broad in scope and has a super lush production. The first dance I had with this song was a short one. At about 3:30 I had to walk away. As engaging as Win and Regine vocal performances are, the song seemed to drag out. I have since come back to this song again (finally getting to hear Bowie's pretty cool contribution) and again still and while I am still not feeling it, I can appreciate it's beautiful production. It just doesn't engage me emotionally and is not different enough artistically to wow me. If it is one thing Arcade Fire has always done is to engage me emotionally. I am now so curious if the entire album is going to have this euro-dance / disco atmosphere. Selfishly, I hope not. Remember I do have two left feet.

I do absolutely love the video, everything about it and look- (at around 5:47) it appears that Arcade Fire cannot dance either! Do you think maybe they are mocking disco? Now that would be subversive. I will listen to Reflektor from time to time and see if it grows on me. You never know, Heart of Glass did.

Robb Donker


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