Oct 09

ARCADE FIRE – “Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)”

FT3 comments • 634 views

The version of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” on the Where The Wild Things Are trailer edits out the song’s peak line, that scornful frustrated sad “I guess I’ll just have to ADJUST”, spat full into the face of nasty summer-crushing adulthood. I suppose it counted as a spoiler.

Anyway it’s the most nakedly, petulantly adolescent moment on Arcade Fire’s breakthrough album, and as such the best: it’s spitefully utopian, it makes me shiver and blush at the same time. It makes me think, for instance, of the bubbling venom and fear under the happy treehouse model of the creative Internet, where you get to make awesome things all day with your awesome pals and you can block anyone who tells you otherwise. Adjusting is the worst fear, the thing They expect us to do.

That’s just me projecting, though. It’s got sod all to do with the band called Arcade Fire who only went and recorded the song, of course. I don’t really care about the backstory (because I don’t want the rage and entitlement I hear in this to be justified at all), and I don’t care about the career arc – I heard Neon Bible in HMV once and it sounded like a group missing their own point, whereas surely it was me missing the point of them. I want them to be exposed and emotional and just bloody well awkward. But, um, not slow.

So “Power Out” is the one I keep coming back to, not “Tunnels” or “Wake Up” or any of the other songs on Funeral which demand more attention than I’m usually willing to give. But this fidgety thing grabs me first as rhythm, second as a trebly fire-alarm clang, and third as a familiar discomfort, the itchy sense that neither you nor the world is playing fair. Lyrics and reference points follow somewhere far far behind.


  1. 1
    lonepilgrim on 7 Oct 2009 #

    I remember hearing this on a free sampler CD from one of the music magazines when it was released and finding it so thrilling that I couldn’t wait to hear the whole album (which in the download era probably shows my age) and being very disappointed that the album sounded pretty much like variations on the one song – clattering percussion beating out an unchanging rhythm with layers of stringed instruments and yelping vocals. I’m always surprised at the love Funeral gets in polls – but this still sounds pretty good and I like the video

  2. 2
    Matt DC on 7 Oct 2009 #

    I actually find Funeral pretty patchy but this is one of the good tracks. The one that really does it for me is Rebellion (Lies) – something to do with a whole year’s worth of house DJs dropping it into sets.

  3. 3
    marc h. on 7 Oct 2009 #

    Lovely point here… and I agree completely with your first impression of Neon Bible (though I heard “Keep the Car Running” again out of context at a coffee shop the other night and liked it better than I remembered).

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