So all 7 of the albums this week are meant to act as starting points for people looking to try out new music. Some of these albums will be from genres that I am well acquainted with and I deem, for a number of reasons, to be a good way to introduce the genre to somebody. Yesterday’s album was the type of album that got me into country music more seriously, a pick from personal experience. Today’s album is the actual exact record that was my entry point into Indie Rock, so take that how you will. Today’s album is one of the finest albums of the 2000’s in my opinion, the remarkable 2004 debut of Indie group Arcade Fire: Funeral.
Contrary to what the album’s title might suggest, this record is not a totally depressing, over-indulgent and artsy drag of an album, it’s actually quite enjoyable. In fact, the primary reason that the album is called Funeral is due to several of the band’s members losing family during the making of the album. The name Funeral works pretty well though given the bittersweet and dreamlike quality of both the instrumentals and lyrics. Over the course of 48 minutes the Canadian Indie-Rock group takes the listener on a delightfully original musical journey. Funeral‘s sound is honestly pretty hard to explain, but the best description I’ve seen is “Art-Rock, Baroque-Pop” which makes total sense when you’ve heard the music but also sounds weird and pretentious. Thankfully, the music itself feels far more inspired and personal than pretentious, but again, you kind of just need to hear it.
No matter how many times I listen to this album, I can never quite put my finger on what it’s about. I can recall lyrics here and there, but the whole thing kind of plays like a dream. It is hard to really recall what it meant or how you got from one point to another, but during it you’re having a deeply meaningful experience. My favorite example of lyrics which exemplify this idea come from the opening track “And I will dig a tunnel from my window to yours”. Like, I’m sorry what? But just like the seemingly random shit that happens in a dream, it doesn’t have to make sense in the real world or any physical sense, it’s all just a part of the experience. Funeral is beautiful musically, it’s hopeful, at times euphoric, seems to be wrought with nostalgia and manages to say a lot about death without saying anything terribly specific at all. Funeral is always just outside of your reach which, I think, is part of what makes it so engaging. I’ve never actually talked to anybody about this record, so what I’m saying might not make any sense to someone else who likes it, but part of the beauty of it is that this feels like a kind of album that will mean something different to everyone who hears it. In that way it kind of gives me Pink Floyd vibes, and anybody who knows me knows how big a compliment that it.
While the lyrics are really good the obvious winner of this album is the quality of the instrumentals. The mix of traditional piano, orchestral strings, and electric bass, guitars, and drum kits among an assortment of other instruments creates a very rich and warm sound. A total delight to listen to, this album owes a lot to the production quality and musicality of the instrumentals which often dominate the tracks that make up Funeral. The lyrics perfectly compliment the music and Arcade Fire uses vocal parts as pieces of the composition as opposed to the front and center focus that most musicians will attribute to their vocals. This plays into the dreamlike quality of the composition and is probably a big part of why whenever I listen to this album my focus fades away from the lyrics and toward the instruments behind them. At this point I’m rambling so I’ll just leave it at “This music sounds good to me”.
I’ll stop trying to put my jumbled thoughts into words and just let the music speak for itself. I really like this album and I really hope that you really like it too. If not, oh well I guess. Here is Arcade Fire’s 2004 Indie Rock album Funeral. Enjoy.
I’m also very excited for tomorrow’s album and blog. You’ll see why.