Dear Arcade Fire: No More Covers On This Tour, Please

Win-0324.jpg
Photo by Marc Brubaker
Arcade Fire's Win Butler at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, May 2011
Folks, I have made it no secret over the years that I am no fan of what Arcade Fire does. The Woodlands expats make lightweight pretentious rock for hipsters and bored suburban kids. That's fine, because it's a market that apparently Jason Mraz wasn't quite cornering well enough.

But now they have crossed the line with me. On their latest tour, which pulls into the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on April 9, they've taken to covering classic songs and the results have been pretty much as expected for a band of this, ahem, caliber. So here and now, I would like to respectfully request that Arcade Fire please, please, please stop covering songs I love.


The first one I heard was their take on INXS's "Devil Inside." Now, anyone who has heard the original knows that this song requires a certain level of sultry seductiveness. It's a song that more or less represents INXS's look at the coke-and-hookers scene of the '80s. It was a rock song by some standards, but with a swagger clearly co-opted from classic soul.

On their version, Arcade Fire ditches the swagger to just beat the holy hell out of the song for some reason. Apparently they felt that the song didn't hit hard enough, so their drummer decided to speed up the tempo and hit his drums like he was playing a Metallica song.

Little did I know this would set the standard for their future covers, and that they would become increasingly more ludicrously unfit for this treatment.


The next one I heard was Prince's "Controversy." How well do you suppose that would turn out for any rock band, no matter how milquetoast? Surprise of surprises, they butchered it. Through the song's entirety, Arcade Fire takes the same full-steam approach they took to INXS, even though it makes even less sense to play Prince this way.

Worse still is singer Win Butler's insistence on performing the song in the style of Boris Karloff. Prince, already possessed of an unusually high voice, sang much of the original in falsetto. Seemingly uncomfortable with that, Butler approaches it with a macho recitation that is completely baffling.

They completely miss out on the funk swagger that drives the original; this cover sounds more like a bouncy arena anthem than a funk track straight out of Minneapolis. One thing you never, never, never do when approaching a Prince song is try to make it rock. Only Prince can make Prince songs rock.


Story continues on the next page.

Location Info

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Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, TX

Category: Music


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12 comments
Victor
Victor

What a dumb article. 


An indie band that the writer already hated in the first place got successful, so they can't do covers that have regional flavors to the city they are playing in because of the preconceived ideas you already have on the band? 


Bruce Springsteen covered Lorde dude, he is pretty pretentious too then. Oh ya, both the boss and Lorde are both pretty fond of Arcade Fire too. 


It's funny how when a band is experimenting with music and making art, then it is considered pretentious now a days. Mainstream music is really pushing the envelope now a days huh?

Jess Apanda
Jess Apanda

David Cook sucked the dingleberries off my asshole behind the 1960 Javajazz once for $5 and a pack of American Spirits. I slapped him when he accidentally tickled my taint.

Corey Deiterman
Corey Deiterman

I'm super serial with my YouTube videos man. Don't make fun of those. My feelings will be hurt.

David Cook
David Cook

speaking of musicians who should do "no more covers". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOyERlq_k_k ladies and gentleman, i give you Corey Deiterman. our talented music blogger who doesnt like arcade fire and thinks im a hipster or bored suburbanite.

David Cook
David Cook

wow! this writer sounds llike a bitter critic whos more concerned with insulting the bands fans than talking about the actual music. im a big fan of this band and i feel personally insulted by him calling me a hipster or bored suburban kid who likes lightweight pretentious rock. thanks asshole. after looking at his other stories like, ways to make metallica good again, and 10 best bad videos, 5 great singers in bad bands, something about beiber eating poop, the awful world of dubstep metal, the pixies should retire, six shameless knockoffs, singers who lost their voices, and musics biggest douchebags, he sounds to me like someone who just likes writing negative shit about musicians. i wonder if he was ever in a band. if he was, i wonder how bad they sucked to where he had to become a writer at a local paper/music blog who gets their kicks from shitting on musicians who are actually successful. im curious who he actually likes.

anon
anon

Arcade Fire puts a lot of time into the music that they make. They do not mean any disrespect to the artists that they are covering, perhaps they are trying to make a statement with the lyrics of these songs. They don't "butcher" the songs, maybe if you listened with an open mind you would reconsider your evaluation.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

I can handle the backlash, their latest record is excessive, meandering, and overly long. However, they have done some fine covers like Clinic's "distortions". But a music critic like you who is oh so educated musically probably has no idea who clinic even is. Must be nice to get paid to write diatribes against bands you don't like though, nice racket.

philly2014
philly2014

You are such an idiot, disrespect them all you want but no other current bands sell records and fill up arenas like they do. 

michaelbell.1975
michaelbell.1975

'Guy Who Doesn't Like Arcade Fire Also Doesn't Like Something Arcade Fire Does In Concert, Spends Time Researching and Writing Article About It For Clickbait Negative Attention Website'

Reclaim your life, dude!

fuckoff
fuckoff

Journalists these days, psh

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