Broken Records The new Arcade Fire album is out, and I’ve been listening, and here’s what I have to say about it.
Hmmm. It’s harder to indicate silent apathy than I thought it would be when I started hitting Enter to do so. But that’s how I feel. There’s not a single song on that album that I can tell you the name of (I think one has “Mountain” in the title, but I don’t think it’s “At the Mountains of Madness,” because an HP Lovecraft reference would be far too whimsical for a band like Arcade Fire), much less one that I could hum for you if you produced a gun and demanded it.
This album follows a pattern that has happened far too often to be a coincidence. I’m starting to think that there’s something wrong either with me, or with music. And I don’t really like to condemn, you know, entire art forms wholesale (genres tends to be as high a category as I’m willing to condemn wholesale). But I don’t really like to consider the idea that there’s something fundamentally broken about me, either.
Anyway, this pattern is that artists have been releasing follow-up albums that make utterly no waves in my brain whatsoever, after making an album that I love.
Artists Whose Last Album I Loved, Like, Absolutely Loved—Sometimes From the Moment The First Song Started—From the Very First Listen Whose Follow Up Has Done Nothing For Me
The Hold Steady
The Mountain Goats
Now, Arcade Fire
Now, it’s entirely possible that none of these albums were as good as their predecessors. And since my hospital stay, I decided to stop seeking out new music, more or less confining myself to the bands I already know and like, so I could be missing out on the new good bands (I haven’t remained completely isolated, but not much has made it past my filters). But it could also be possible that I’m broken. That I am no longer capable of finding new joy. That my music tastes have ossified—just a little later than the people I knew in college who are stuck with what they liked in high school, and even now listen to Harvey Danger and Blink 182 and Dave Matthews Band.
I could be broken. I almost hope so. Because the alternative is that all my favorite bands just suck now.