Sometimes, I wonder why I like pop music? There is so much rubbish about, people with no talent earning millions. But, that isn’t just a modern phenomenon. It has always been the case. Boy bands with their supposed good looks appealing to teenage girls, boy bands with guitars (as if the mere act of holding an instrument somehow gives them credibility), youngish females - with precious little clothing - selling the fantasy of sex... all have absolutely nothing to do with music. The irony is that these folk are convinced they have real talent. Many of them actually believe their own publicity and think they are perfect! They are mediocre, at best, and full of their own self-importance. Real musicians know there is always room for improvement and always doubt their own ability!!
When listening to a piece of “classical” music that takes a theme and develops it, as opposed to repeating it over and over ad nauseam, it makes me wonder why I like any pop music at all! But, I try to keep an open mind and seek out the good in things. A little over a year ago, I discovered a band from Montreal, Canada, called Arcade Fire. I’d caught them on “Later with Jools Holland”, towards the end of 2005, and their sound captured my attention. I thought no more of it until a few months later when, flicking through the television channels, I landed on E4 and the video of “Rebellion (Lies)” was playing. I’m a sucker for rock bands that use orchestral instruments, especially strings!!
It’s probably The Beatles’ Producer, George Martin, we have to thank for the addition of strings on pop records, as well as the piccolo trumpet! Arcade Fire use a range of instruments adding a couple of violins in the featured number, as well as double bass and accordion on other songs, to those of a traditional rock band. That already makes them intriguing. Coupled with the plaintive cry of lead singer Win Butler, I started to ask myself whether or not this group could be the new Roxy Music? I’ve asked myself that many times, over the past thirty-five years, about groups ranging from Sparks to The Stranglers, Magazine to Portishead, to name but a few!! Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion (Lies)”, from the album “Funeral”, is an uplifting pop song, far removed from the bland mainstream, and thus worth consideration.