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Old 08-22-2010, 09:10 PM   #61
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I don't actually think our disagreement is around the idea of the 'album' or how we listen to it, but more in our conception of its criticism or how we analyze it. I find a lot of music criticism and the type of criticism that happens on this forum to be kind of revisionist-fantasy, for lack of a better term on the spot. Like, you praise what you dig, but then everything else is "The album should have been this, or they should have done that, or it should be shorter or it could have been this or that." Which the whole length issue is a usual part of. I just don't really play that game. Let me experience the whole work the artist created and respond to it how I will, and I'm happy to discuss what it does and how it does it, what it makes me feel and what I like about it or don't like. And you can talk about the technical achievements and the mix and this and that in the same way or course and so on. But so much of what I read, far more so in music discussion it seems than in any other medium (though it happens in film criticism too, unfortuantely, and it's just as inane then), is "I want it to be this, it would be better if it were that, or it fails because it's XYZ instead of ABC." And yeah, I'm speaking in terms too general, that a lot of that does factor in to good criticism as well, but it's all about context and perspective.
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:14 PM   #62
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I don't actually think our disagreement is around the idea of the 'album' or how we listen to it, but more in our conception of its criticism or how we analyze it. I find a lot of music criticism and the type of criticism that happens on this forum to be kind of revisionist-fantasy, for lack of a better term on the spot. Like, you praise what you dig, but then everything else is "The album should have been this, or they should have done that, or it should be shorter or it could have been this or that." Which the whole length issue is a usual part of. I just don't really play that game. Let me experience the whole work the artist created and respond to it how I will, and I'm happy to discuss what it does and how it does it, what it makes me feel and what I like about it or don't like. And you can talk about the technical achievements and the mix and this and that in the same way or course and so on. But so much of what I read, far more so in music discussion it seems than in any other medium (though it happens in film criticism too, unfortuantely, and it's just as inane then), is "I want it to be this, it would be better if it were that, or it fails because it's XYZ instead of ABC." And yeah, I'm speaking in terms too general, that a lot of that does factor in to good criticism as well, but it's all about context and perspective.
This is a very articulate post. I appreciate the sentiment and I think that you make a great point about the purpose of artistic criticism. As a teacher, I tend to evaluate music in much the same way that I evaluate student work: how fully something realizes its potential or fulfills its vision.

In terms of The Suburbs, it seems that Arcade Fire set out to make a stylistically diverse concept album. I think that in order to fulfill that vision, they needed to evoke a certain feeling while still allowing room for interpretation. The lyrical directness to me destroys the interpretive angle and also overshadows the musical nuance of many of the tracks. I think that Butler wanted people to come away from the album re-evaluating their upbringings and their attitudes toward middle-class life, but instead I feel as though I've just eaves-dropped on his therapy sessions.

Arcade Fire is an ambitious band that has positioned itself as intellectually relevant. Owing to that, I think that it's fair to evaluate them based on the intellectual merit of their work. I would never judge an album by someone like Oasis in the same way that I'm looking at The Suburbs.
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:43 PM   #63
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Fair point you raise about lyrical directness of the songs. The album is clearly banking a lot on repetition, both lyrical and musical, themes and variations and so forth and I think it's mostly effective in that regard. Like you said though, perhaps if the writing were a bit more oblique that approach would be more appealing.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:12 AM   #64
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All I'll say is that Rococo shouldn't exist. That would heal a lot in this discussion.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:25 AM   #65
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I cant understand the hate for that song
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:27 AM   #66
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Rococo is a good tune.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:37 AM   #67
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Rococo Haters suck.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:44 AM   #68
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Rococo Haters suck.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:42 PM   #69
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I cant understand the hate for that song
Neither can I. The chorus could obviously be better, but other than that it's quite good.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:43 PM   #70
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I like it as well. It was on the radio this morning on my way to work.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:52 PM   #71
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It's just the chorus for me. A million times the chorus.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:17 PM   #72
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It's not interesting musically, which puts more focus on the lyrics, which are completely shit. And yeah, that chorus.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:34 PM   #73
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It's beautiful musically. That's why I hate that chorus SO much.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:40 PM   #74
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I like it as well. It was on the radio this morning on my way to work.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:41 PM   #75
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It's beautiful musically. That's why I hate that chorus SO much.
I agree that's it's great musically, and the chorus leaves a lot to be desired. But I feel that in a live setting, this song works very well.
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