Reflektor by Arcade Fire
And so it was writ: every three years, as the stars and moon align over Montreal, Quebec, Arcade Fire shall bestow upon the people an amazing indie rock album. This has proved true with uncanny regularity for the past 12 years, and you can look for the next one to come out in 2016, I’m sure.
The band’s last album, The Suburbs, landed at #8 on the 2010 Calendar. At this juncture, I don’t really care to listen to that album any more, but I find myself drawn to their first two albums, Funeral (2004) and Neon Bible (2007), with continued consistency. Don’t let the fact that I’m ranking this year’s album, Reflektor, lower than I ranked their last album even though I no longer wish to listen to that album. I’m fairly certain I like this new album much more than The Suburbs. There just happened to be a lot of good music to come out this year, so Reflektor finds itself at the mid-way point.
This new album has the band in a disco kind of mood. It’s a very danceable album, and if you listen to the album with headphones while sitting at your desk at work, I defy you to keep your foot from tapping and your body from bouncing to the beat. It’s a long album, a two-album set clocking in at 85 minutes. And it’s not without its dogs. But those dogs are easily skippable, and they make the rest of the album shine by comparison.
The video above, for the song “Afterlife,” is gorgeous. You should definitely take the time to watch it. Directed by videographer and photographer Emily Kai Bock, it tells the story of a man and his two sons, all dreaming of the wife/mother they’ve lost. The way the dreams are depicted in the video are particularly moving. Bock has directed other videos I’ve posted in the past, such as this one for Grimes and this one for Grizzly Bear. It‘s extremely satisfying to see all three of these videos in the light of each other, an über context that isn’t there when viewing any one of them alone.
16. We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic by Foxygen
17. Lanters by Son Lux
18. Howlin’ by Jagwar Ma
19. Impersonator by Majical Cloudz
20. Dream Cave by Cloud Control
21. Mole City by Quasi
22. Phantogram by Phantogram
23. Julia With Blue Jeans On by Moonface
24. Uncanney Valley by The Dismemberment Plan
25. Event II by Deltron 3030
26. Wise Up Ghost by Elvis Costello and The Roots
27. Us Alone by Hayden
28. Pure Heroine by Lorde
29. Shaking the Habitual by The Knife
30. False Idols by Tricky
31. Let’s Be Still by The Head and the Heart