Music

Arcade Fire - "Creature Comfort" (Singles Going Steady)

"Creature Comfort" is a big, bold statement of intent from Arcade Fire. This is a song that leaves you anything but anesthetized.

Paul Carr: This is a big, bold statement of intent from Arcade Fire. There is a clear and admirable desire for the band not to spend too long in the same space and to mine their DNA to reinvigorate themselves. The big synths and angular new wave of early '80s the Cure sound fresh and like nothing the band has done before. Despite the retro stylings, the subject matter is refreshingly current as the group deal with the quest for personal validation from family, friends, and strangers, the anxieties of negative body image and the relentless pursuit of fame at the expense of everything else. The band cleverly offer a metaphorical panacea for all of these ills in the form of Creature comfort. Something to numb the pain. This is a song that leaves you anything but anesthetized. [9/10]

Kevin Korber: Here, we have a Grammy-winning band who sell out stadiums and collaborate with some of the most recognizable names in popular music today singing about how celebrity culture is warping people’s minds. Granted, this isn’t as incongruous as if, say, Taylor Swift performed a song like this, but Arcade Fire are still hardly in a place to pull something like this off convincingly. Besides, hasn’t this been done many, many times before? The grandiosity of the production adds some appeal if you’ve liked the band in the past, but “Creature Comfort” is a far cry from the moving, emotional sweep of “Wake Up” or “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)". That epic feel is still there, but the words and sentiments ring hollow. [4/10]

Ian Rushbury: If you get a New Order record and a Scissor Sisters record and play them both at the same time, you'll have a rough idea of what "Creature Comfort" sounds like. And that's the most emo lyric you'll hear this side of My Chemical Romance. But it's sort of irresistible in a good way. If you listen very closely, you can hear people pulverizing their copies of "Funeral" with their own shoes. [7/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: There’s nothing original about "Creature Comfort". Arcade Fire tries to be a nu-disco David Bowie but isn’t nearly fun enough to pull it off. This is a song that takes itself too seriously, full of belted-out cliches and a melody that goes absolutely nowhere. It’s too bad Arcade Fire opted not to make it painless. [3/10]

Christopher Thiessen: A poignant track calling out the emphasis on celebrity American culture has created and the effect that that has on depression and suicidal thoughts. Win Butler reminds that there are beauty and happiness all around us, but we've been blinded to it by the want for fame, flash, etc. The glam, new wave production of the song is ironic as it reminds of a musical era where flash and excess were celebrated. [8/10]

Spyros Stasis: The band's previous single “Everything Now” found Arcade Fire embracing the sound they began exploring with The Reflektor. With a distinctly '80s influence, they carry on with their second single from Everything Now, “Creature Comfort.” Leaping away from their indie rock sound, the band sets up the track to work through over the top synthesizers and repetitive, mechanical drumming. What is left is an anthemic disco rock offering, sonically impressive and one that will translate very well in their live performances, but essentially hollow. [5/10]

Tristan Kneschke: There is little of note in the “Creature Comforts” video. A digital ticker tape reducing the lyrics to karaoke is a misstep, particularly as Win Butler’s voice is crystal clear in the mix already. Lyrics these poignant are better heard and felt, not read and comprehended. A single locked-off camera shot in which the main gag is the band’s live performance doesn’t bring things back to basics. It speaks to a lack of video budget and creative vision that no amount of glossy costumes and keytars can change. This might earn a passing grade for a smaller band, but at the stadium rocker level, the bar is set higher, and a shame given the genuinely catchy song. [4/10]

Mike Schiller: I have definitely played a video game that sounds like this. Arcade Fire's latest taste of their upcoming LP Everything Now at least has more teeth than the title track that showed up a few weeks ago, with all its buzzy synths and shouted proclamations of the insecurities of youth. Regine Chassagne is particularly effective as a keytar-wielding disco goddess who gets to shout choruses and be badass. Like "Everything Now", there's a little bit of a sense of "let's take one idea and run it into the ground for five minutes," but the groove here is more effective, and the touches of the personal that Win Butler throws in amongst all of the sloganeering make his tortured frontman act a lot more convincing. I bet it sounds great on the album. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: Arcade Fire drop yet another single from their highly anticipated album "Everything Now, and like the previously released title track, "Creature Comfort" is full of bright synthpop and killer hooks, almost as if they were specifically contracted to create an '80s-era hit single. The lazy funk paired with Win Butler's speak/sing vocals and the bubbly backup vocals make for a perfect summer single. Not exactly rocket science, but probably works well at your next house party. [8/10]

SCORE: 6.11


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Music

Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?

Music

IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.

Music

Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.

Film

NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.

Music

The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.

Music

Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.

Books

David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.

Music

David Lord Salutes Collaborators With "Cloud Ear" (premiere)

David Lord teams with Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground) for a new collection of sweeping, frequently meditative compositions. The results are jazz for a still-distant future that's still rooted in tradition.

Music

Laraaji Takes a "Quiet Journey" (premiere +interview)

Afro Transcendentalist Laraaji prepares his second album of 2020, the meditative Moon Piano, recorded inside a Brooklyn church. The record is an example of what the artist refers to as "pulling music from the sky".

Music

Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.

Music

The Band of Heathens Find That Life Keeps Getting 'Stranger'

The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.

Music

Landowner's 'Consultant' Is OCD-Post-Punk With Obsessive Precision

Landowner's Consultant has all the energy of a punk-rock record but none of the distorted power chords.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.