Keep the car running
ARCADE Fire’s fifth album,
Everything Now, is overstuffed with ideas and musical styles by design.
The overarching theme centres on consumerism and how the multitude of choices can be paralysing. It all builds to the haunting ballad We Don’t
Deserve Love, with Win Butler singing mostly at the top of his register over a woozy bed of distorted guitars that makes the song sound as post-apocalyptic as the lyrics suggest.
“If you can’t see the forest for the trees just burn it all down,” sings Butler, after all the usual consumer-driven distractions don’t work. “And bring the ashes to me.”
It’s a heavy concept. But fear not, the beauty of Everything
Now is that Arcade Fire creates the feeling of too many choices by offering an overwhelming number of great songs done in a dizzying number of good-time musical styles that can be enjoyed on their own.
The title track, an early song of the year contender, conjures the height of disco-era excess with its grand ABBA-esque piano intro that shields us from the despair of Butler’s lyrics punctuated by chants of “Everything now!” Creature Comfort uses a catchy, Groove Armada-styled industrial pop vibe to hide the suicidal thoughts that come from tying your self-esteem to other’s opinions.
But there are simpler pleasures here too, like Butler’s
Emotional Rescue–era Rolling Stones delivery on Good God Damn or the dancehall-driven Peter Pan, complete with bass so high in the mix that it sounds like it is coming through blownout speakers.
Arcade Fire, who produced the album with its longtime collaborator Markus Dravs, Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Pulp’s Steve Mackey, isn’t going for subtlety here. (It even includes two versions of Infinite Content — one punk and one folkie — where they scream “Infinite content! Infinite content! We’re infinitely content!”) However, getting hit over the head with songs this good is perfectly fine. – Glenn Gamboa/ Newsday/Tribune News Service
FALL into a dream with Coldplay’s latest five-track EP.
Kaleidoscope opens with All I Can Think About Is You, a lovely shoegaze art rock number that builds up to a soaring finish. It’s somewhat trippy and I can imagine a stadium full of fans going wild if Chris Martin & Co close the show with this number.
Miracles (Someone Special) sees the band doing a little bit of 90s jam as they collaborate with rapper Big Sean. It’s a groovy inspirational number designed to get you dancing. Just try not to pay attention to the corny lyrics. Alien is a charity single and proceeds go towards an NGO that serves to rescue migrants and refugees. It’s a gentle haunting number that captures the feeling of distress while holding on to the slightest ray of hope.
Short though it is, Kaleidoscope has enough material to keep fans mesmerised for a long time. – Angelin Yeoh
Coldplay Kaleidoscope EP Warner
Arcade Fire Everything Now Sony