Bob Schwartz

Tag: Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire: I Give You Power, I Can Take It Away

The Clash used to call themselves “The only band that matters,” based on their political and social stances.

Arcade Fire has never been overly political, or overly self-promoting, just great. Their latest single, released in January, doesn’t make them the only band that matters, but it does confirm that they are a band that matters, and it is a track that matters.

If the band had just added Mavis Staples to the track, that might have been enough. But what she and Win Butler sing for us is an anthem pointed right at the heart of today. A reminder, an aspiration, a truth you can listen to and move to and shout and follow, when you’re feeling discouraged.

I Give You Power

I give you power, over me
I give you power, but now I gotta be free
I give you power, but now I say
I give you power, I can take it away
I can take it away
Watch me

Music: Normal Person

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Oh man
Do you like Rock and Roll music?
‘Cause I don’t know if I do

Arcade Fire is a great band. Wildly creative, musically and lyrically. Their fourth and latest album Reflektor (2013) was not quite as over-the-top praised as earlier ones, but it still got lots of deserved commendation and “best of” rankings. If you’ve never heard the band, take a chance and listen to them all.

Of all the songs I love on Reflektor, especially the title track, Normal Person always gets to me. First, because you can dance to it, even though it starts with the ironic epigraph above. Second, because the lyrics are awesome. Here they are, one diamond line after another. “If that’s what’s normal now/I don’t want to know.”

Is anything as strange as a normal person?
Is anyone as cruel as a normal person?
Waiting after school for you
They want to know if you
If you’re normal too
Well, are you?
Are you?

I’m so confused. Am I a normal person?
You know, I can’t tell if I’m a normal person
It’s true, I think I’m cool enough, but am I cruel enough?
Am I cruel enough for you?

And they will break you down
Till everything is normal now
I know
And they will break you down
Till everything is normal now
I know

They take their tea at two
All the normal people, they do
They burn the jungle down
While they were sleeping, it grew
You dream in English now
In proper English, look how
You’re just the same as me
It’s through

And they will break you down
Till everything is normal now
I know
And they will break you down
Till everyone is normal now
I know

If that’s what’s normal now
I don’t want to know
If that’s what’s normal now
Mama don’t make me go

When they get excited, they try to hide it
Look at those normals go
When they get excited, they try to hide it
Look at those normals go
When they get excited, they try to hide it
Look at those normals go
When they get excited, they try to hide it… No!

Maybe if you hang together
You can make the changes in our hearts
And if you hang together
You can change us, just where should you start?

I’ve never really ever met a normal person
I’ve never really ever met a normal person
I’ve never really ever met a normal person
I’ve never really ever met a normal person… like you!
How do you do?
How do you do?