Arcade Fire - "Everything Now" (Singles Going Steady)

by PopMatters Staff

14 June 2017

Opinions are sharply divided about Arcade Fire's latest single.
 

Paul Carr: Arcade Fire seemed to have satisfied their experimental urges and returned with something more pleasingly uncomplicated and more akin to the band that made one of the finest albums of the decade in The Suburbs. However, this is less concerned about understanding the mundanities of life, more celebrating existence in general. Built on a circular, bright piano refrain, the band slowly builds the song with gentle acoustic guitar and the confident strut of bass. Only when the foundations of the song have been established, do they add in the gospel vocals, panpipes, and string slashes. It sounds like a band unshackled and in love with the simple act of playing music. [9/10]
  

Adriane Pontecorvo: I’ll admit that I wasn’t paying much attention to this Arcade Fire song until the whistle samples kicked in. It’s a serviceable, radio-friendly single up until that point, decrying materialism and consumer culture. The melody is cookie-cutter and sounds a little dated, but the sentiment feels sincere. Those whistles come from Cameroonian electronic music pioneer Francis Bebey’s “The Coffee Cola Song”, a track that is not only a musical fit, but, in some ways, a thematic one: the song tackles class disparity, particularly focusing on an upper-class love of money, war, and Western comestibles. Bebey, in turn, drew on the hindewhu style of whistle music native to the Central African Republic and preserved on 1966 ethnomusicological anthology The Music of the Ba-Benzélé Pygmies.

With that said, there’s nothing that new or unique about this single, and while the lyrical revolt against the status quo is appreciated, it’s pretty generic, and not exactly ready to spark the next hippie movement. A little Francis Bebey doesn’t make you the voice of the revolution. [4/10]

Chris Ingalls: The title track from their first album since 2013’s Reflektor, “Everything Now” is nothing particularly surprising from Arcade Fire, but that’s OK. The song is right in their wheelhouse, from the ‘80s synthpop vibe to the rich sonic surprises that pop up all over the place. The bubbly dance beat certainly doesn’t hurt, making this a guaranteed upbeat concert favorite, further cementing the band’s reputation as both crowd pleasers and sonic innovators. [7/10]

John Garratt: As I watch the song’s initials turn into a logo, and the logo being grafted onto corporate-sized signs, I’m reminded of documentarian Vincent Moon’s words concerning Arcade Fire: “Maybe they’re on an indie label, but that doesn’t mean anything. Those guys are just making things on a very big level, a very mainstream way of thinking.” It seems like the band is no longer shy about their aspirations for world domination. How else do you explain such an expensive looking video set to a boring song that just goes on and on and on? [4/10]

SCORE: 6.00

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