Arcade Fire are one of the biggest and most impactful rock bands to emerge out of the last decade and half. Their first album Funeral is a classic. Their third album The Suburbs is even better. Hell, I will gladly die on the Reflektor hill, dancing the night away in glittery, seven-inch platform shoes. They are without question one of the greatest live performing entities in the world today. That being said, it’s probably fair at this point to declare their most recent album Everything Now a major misstep. It’s not just the quality of the music either — though “Peter Pan” is far and aways the worst song they’ve ever committed to tape — the entire rollout campaign that the band deployed to trumpet their latest work revealed a group totally out of touch with both its fan base and the world at large.
It’s one thing to create a bad record. Great artists do that all the time. See Bob Dylan’s Christmas In The Heart or Neil Young’s Trans for exquisite examples. It’s an entirely different story to put your fans through a ham-fisted pre-release cycle that zaps them of enthusiasm for your latest artistic expression, and turns them into beleaguered defenders. Katy Perry fans know this pain all too well this year. As do Rihanna fans — Anti was great, but what the hell was the deal with all those digital rooms? Even Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo became grating after weeks and weeks and weeks of Twitter rants, fashion shows, leaks, and edits.