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Albums of the Year 2017: Arcade Fire - Everything Now | reviews, news & interviews

Albums of the Year 2017: Arcade Fire - Everything Now

Albums of the Year 2017: Arcade Fire - Everything Now

The bleakly euphoric and the euphorically melancholic vie for top position

The album that gave everything, now, in 2017

I’ve long thought there should be an arts website called ‘On Second Thoughts’ where critics post their reconsidered opinions of albums, books, films or whatever, once they’ve been properly digested. After all, it’s often the case that either first-love euphoria turns to over-exposure ennui or vague curiosity grows into lasting admiration. But as things stand, the only opportunity one gets to write a postscript to an initial response is in these end-of-year round ups.  Having said that, my enthusiasm for Arcade Fire’s Everything Now has neither dimmed nor brightened since the album’s release in July, it has simply remained steady, which in itself is noteworthy. 

For now that the desert dust has settled, I can more confidently assert that Everything Now is as good as the very best serious pop and rock albums of the 1970s and 1980s, which it so lovingly references: Parallel Lines, Arrival and Rumours – sparkingly diverse yet cohesive records that didn’t contain a single track that couldn’t have been released as a single. But 2017 wasn’t just about intelligent pop it was also about…. well, what exactly do we call Mark Kozelek?

Kozelek started out as a fairly generic singer-songwriter. But these days he might be better described as someone who places his extremely personal prose in a variety of different musical settings. No, that’s not quite right either, because he’s as much a singer as Lou Reed was, and some his words do rhyme. Benji (one of the last records that we know Bowie approved of) is his masterpiece, but this year’s Mark Kozelek With Ben Boye and Jim White is very good too.

The opening track, “House Cat” – in which Kozelek speaks in the voice of a foulmouthed cat that’s sick of his owners going on about Trump all the time – is a blackly comic gem that sounds like the Velvets fronted by Jonathan Richmond. Thereafter, though, we’re in more typical Kozelek country with much melancholy if mellifluous talk of regrets, rainy days and death. It’s a demanding listening (with some tracks lasting more than 15 minutes) but I suspect I’d still be praising to the sky a few years down the line on onsecondthoughts.com, were there such a place.

 

Two More Essential Albums of 2017

Mark Kozelek - Mark Kozelek With Ben Boye and Jim White

Justin Adams featuring Anneli Drecker – Ribbons

Gig of the Year

Lo’Jo at Rich Mix, London

Track of the Year

Arcade Fire – “Everything Now”

My enthusiasm for Arcade Fire’s Everything Now has neither dimmed nor brightened since the album’s release in July

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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