Arcade Fire brings groove in new album Reflektor

Eli Lefcowitz, Contributing Writer

Arcade Fire, the indie rock band admired by great rockers including U2 and Bruce Springsteen, shifted its image with the newly released album, Reflektor.

Reflektor is the fourth studio album of the Montreal-based band.  Arcade Fire, despite their former solemn tone, lightened up the discography with disco beats and groove.

To market the new album, Arcade Fire, using the pseudonym The Reflektors, went on a series of warm-up low-capacity concerts held in unsuspecting places, such as a warehouse in Brooklyn, where the band held a semi-secret Halloween party.  To go along with the brighter attitude, these shows had a mandatory dress-code requiring a costume or formal wear with the band members themselves performing in festive costumes.

However, Arcade Fire’s new album is not all dancing and costume-parties.  Unlike most popular artists today, Arcade Fire continues to incorporate serious messages in their lyrics, involving religion, socioeconomic status, and social identity.

In “Here Comes the Night Time,” which has a title that implies it is about revelry, lead singer Win Butler sings, “If there’s no music up in heaven, then what’s it for?”

The album’s lead single, “Reflektor,” begins with a thumping disco rhythm.  The 10-person band gradually leads up the beat during the first minute of the song, then lead singers Butler and Regine Chassagne take over as they sing in a mix of English and French.

As the song progresses, the meaning of the title is apparent.  “Reflektor” is a commentary on how face-to-face social interaction has diminished since the invention of social media.  Butler and Chassagne sing, “Now, the signals we send, are deflected again/We’re still connected, but are we even friends? We fell in love when I was nineteen/And now we’re staring at a screen.”

Arcade Fire understands that their deep lyrics are unusual as they explained on The Colbert Report.  When Stephen Colbert asked if frontman Butler would prefer fans to think about the message of their lyrics or to dance and enjoy the music, Butler comically responded that, ideally, his fans would be dancing with a tear in their eyes.

By taking a break from their typical somber tone, Arcade Fire reveals their ability to make dance music without losing their signature touch to embed meaningful lyrics into their songs.  With a slight change up to a more upbeat discography, Arcade Fire shifts the sound to their tastes, but still produces music that the masses love.