Friday, October 30, 2009

BIBJ Playlist of the 2000s entry #29: Intervention by Arcade Fire

Neon Bible was released in 2007.  This seems insane to me, as it feels like I've owned this album for at least five years or so.  Much like the time between seasons of Friday Night Lights, or the collegiate lifespan of Cherokee Parks, this album apparently ages on a completely different pattern from the rest of civilization. Of course the fact that Arcade Fire haven't released anything since then may have contributed to my flawed perception.  After all No Country For Men came out in 2007 as well and the Coens have already released two more films since.  My point is this:  I would like a new Arcade Fire album soon.  Thank you and good day.

"Intervention" may contain the quickest "zero-to-AWESOME" acceleration in recorded history, or at least since that first chord in "A Hard Day's Night" that nobody's ever quite definitely figured out.  The opening note blaring from the church organ demands immediate attention, and not just because it gives me flashbacks to the time I watched my first grade teacher slap a classmate across the face for talking during the opening song of a school mass.  (Yes that did make a lasting impression, WHY DO YOU ASK?)  It's an instrument that obviously is rarely used in popular music, due in no small part to the fact that rock bands don't often get around to recording in churches.  But it fits perfectly with the storyline of a time when the church's position of power was beyond the challenge of any individuals, especially those sent to die in the name of religion. 

Been working for the church while your life falls apart
Singing hallelujah with the fear in your heart
Every spark of friendship and love
Will die without a home
Hear the soldier groan, “We’ll go at it alone”

The lyrics grow crazed and angry, but ultimately the narrator knows he's already defeated whether he lives or dies.  While the words are biting, the power truly lies in the unrelenting pipe organ bearing down throughout.  In some ways it seems bizarre that this band became a festival headliner in the span of two albums, but when you hear songs like this it seems like a natural fit.  The songs themselves are constructed in the aesthetic of a hungry independent band, but they are made to be played in massive stadiums, and it's a tough task to come up with many bands who can pull off that balancing act.  


No comments: