Our 10 Favorite Arcade Fire Songs

Arcade Fire Songs

Photo By Rama (Own work) [CeCILL (http://www.cecill.info/licences/Licence_CeCILL_V2-en.html) or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Arcade Fire was a glorious breeze of fresh Indie air amid the mundane restraints of Mainstream rock. They were a Canadian-American mash-up of talented musicians who wanted to unleash a new kind of experimental form of instrumentation that was as explosive as pop-oriented. Their style can’t be pinned into one particular genre, which makes them so extraordinary; they’re like a cross between Baroque rock and theatrical drama. There’s an outrageous quality to their multifarious rhythm section and the intellectual root of their lyrical content that mirrors a philosophical point-of-view of the world; they speak on a deeper level to ordinary people of all walks of life.

The meat and potatoes of the band revolve around vocalist, songwriter, and Texas native Win Butler and his Canadian wife, Régine Chassagne; she’s also a fellow singer who had previously studied jazz voice. Other members include Butler’s younger brother William who plays the keyboard, Richard Parry who plays bass, Sarah Neufeld who plays violin, Jeremy Gara who plays drums, and Tim Kingsbury who plays lead guitar. That isn’t even taking into account the fact that they all contribute to a wide array of various other instruments as well, including the viola, cello, xylophone, french horn, accordion, hurdy-gurdy, glockenspiel(similar to the xylophone), and harp.

This makes Arcade Fire one of the best bands of the 21st century: their ability to incorporate such a rich and spacious sound that echoes the concert halls of 18th-century orchestras. Look at it like this: You must be doing alright as a band if you have the respect of an icon like David Bowie. Even so much so that David Bowie. records a live album with you and even imparts his vocals for one of your hit singles; now that’s the pinnacle of “making it.” So, let’s get straight into their catalog of stellar music:

# 10 – Windowsill

Fresh from their critically acclaimed debut album, Funeral, Arcade Fire decided to switch up their style and incorporate Americana themes in their follow-up record, Neon Bible. One can almost hear Bruce Springsteen’s essence in a song like “Windowsill.” It’s a cold look at the effects of corporate America and how they easily influence people with the garbage they feed them through television. The mellow waves of each bowed instrument also send a song like this into the musical cosmos.

# 9 – Supersymmetry

As soon as they put out their current album, Reflektor, which featured David Bowie on the title track, Arcade Fire already had three incredible albums under their belt; one could make the argument that two out of three of those albums are already well on their way to classic status. This beautifully extraterrestrial closer clocks in at eleven minutes and is more like two separate pieces morphed into one. The first half plays out like a love letter until the second half segues into some Brian Eno-inspired ambiance.

# 8 – Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)

Arcade Fire had this conceptual theme throughout Funeral involving a neighborhood where a lot happens; each song unfolds like a coming-of-age story. This song’s plot deals with a power outage in the neighborhood where there are no adults to supervise the kids as they get into trouble; the lyrics paint the song as more of an emotional odyssey disguised as a cross between a John Hughes story and a pinch of the surreal. It’s the most rockin’ song of the four “Neighborhoods.”

# 7 –  Put Your Money On Me

In the number seven spot on our Top 10 Arcade Fire songs is the cool-sounding track “Put Your Money On Me.” We love the synth bassline that keeps repeating over and over again. It hypnotizes you.  The song was released on the album Everything Now. The album came out back in 2017. The song “Put Your Money On Me” was the last single released from the album

# 6 –  No Cars Go

Released as a single off of Neon Bible, No Cars Go exemplifies the very template of Indie Rock that Arcade Fire masterfully brought into the mainstream light. It has every quality of Heartland rock that’ll have you imagining yourself driving on the open road in a convertible with the top down. Arcade Fire also uses an accordion that would’ve easily felt laughable in a song like this, but it doesn’t. And then there’s those Springsteen-esque croons towards the end that make it all the more emotional.

# 5 – Afterlife

This is probably one of the few standouts on Reflektor that shared glimpses of essential Arcade Fire when they weren’t constantly reinventing themselves with the avant-garde and Greek mythology. It’s got every element that lifts every one of their songs to the vertex of pure vibrations; it’s all in the way Régine Chassagne lets her soft vocals spread their wings in the back of their intensely symphonic chorus. Before releasing it as a single, they debuted the song on Saturday Night Live, one of their most exciting efforts.

# 4 – Modern Man

It’s time for some cuts off of their record, The Suburbs. This is one of their more unperturbed compositions, and it’s the kind of song to unwind to when it’s late and you’re pretty beat from a long, strenuous day of work. The lyrics speak on a very disillusioned level; there’s something sad and nihilistic, but it’s still a thoughtful song that makes you think.

# 3 – Ready To Start

This was perhaps their biggest single on The Suburbs, and it’s no surprise they chose this one. It has an irresistible bounce that gets inside your head and lingers well after you’ve listened to it, thus making you want to play the song again. That’s not taking anything away from the cryptic passages that show that one can make an easily accessible song with many layers to it. In the following lines, All the kids have always known that the emperor wears no clothes. But they bow down to him anyway, ’cause it’s better than being alone, really sums up those too afraid to think for themselves.

# 2 – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Here’s yet another single from The Suburbs. The album is crammed with so many different varieties of great tunes. Still, this one is so colorful in its vibrant ode to preserving innocence in the middle of the hopeless existence of adulthood. It’s one of the few songs where Régine Chassagne bestowed her vocals, and she brings the spirit of the song out of its shell. Its overall sound is reminiscent of 80’s New Wave and would fit with any of those “Brat Pack” films.

# 1 – Rebellion (Lies)

This little number from Funeral is, without question, the song that defines Arcade Fire as a musical force to behold. It was one of four singles issued from the album, and it does its job by letting the world know that a band like this DOES come around once in a long time to grace the public with a glimmer of hope that there IS still great music being recorded. Everything about this song, from the stringed arrangements to the dreamy yet defiant poetics, really leaves a lasting impression; that dancing violin solo that creates a poignant adieu during the outro must be felt to understand the beauty of  Arcade Fire’s music fully.

By Rama (Own work) [CeCILL (http://www.cecill.info/licences/Licence_CeCILL_V2-en.html) or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Our 10 Favorite Arcade Fire Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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