Best Albums of the 00s: Funeral

Funeral - Arcade Fire (2004)

I continue the chronological countdown of my favourite albums of the last decade with the debut effort from Canada’s Arcade Fire. I must admit that I was completely unfamiliar with the band’s music when they played the Electric Picnic in 2005, even though they seemed to be the act that everyone wanted to check out. I never got to see them as I reasoned that people were being taken in by all the hype surrounding the band. When I eventually decided to check out the album the next year I knew I had been wrong. I was immediately drawn into the songs, the words, the use of instruments and the band’s sound. In particular, I liked the fact that they used instruments that the majority of rock and pop acts would never use, such as violins, cellos, mandolins and accordions. Their use of some of these instruments within a rock format and the slow build-up of their songs reminded me a lot of one of my favourite performers, Bruce Springsteen

The album seemed to get better with each listen and I find that that’s still the case even now. Some of the more uplifting numbers, such as Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), Wake Up and Rebellion (Lies) were early favourites, but the album’s unity of sound and theme eventually became apparent. The introduction of more melancholic elements in the sound and lyrics was due to recent bereavements in the families of many of the band members. The 2007 release of Neon Bible saw Arcade Fire came through the difficult second album syndrome with flying colours. I look forward to their next album in 2010. In the meantime, here are four interpretations of songs from Funeral:

Wake Up – Will Phalen

Crown Of Love – This Is Ivy League

In The Backseat – Ana Egge

Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) – Times New Viking