Funeral (Arcade Fire album)

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Funeral
ArcadeFireFuneralCover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 14, 2004 (2004-09-14)
RecordedAugust 2003 – early 2004
StudioHotel2Tango (Montreal, QC)
Genre
Length48:02
LabelMerge
ProducerArcade Fire
Arcade Fire chronology
Arcade Fire
(2003)
Funeral
(2004)
Neon Bible
(2007)
Singles from Funeral
  1. "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)"
    Released: June 20, 2004
  2. "Neighborhood #2 (Laïka)"
    Released: March 28, 2005
  3. "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)"
    Released: May 23, 2005
  4. "Rebellion (Lies)"
    Released: September 12, 2005
  5. "Wake Up"
    Released: November 14, 2005

Funeral is the debut studio album by Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire, released on September 14, 2004 by Merge Records. Preliminary recordings for Funeral were made during the course of a week in August 2003 at the Hotel2Tango in Montreal, Quebec, and the recording was completed later that year all in an analogue recording format.

The album produced five singles, with "Rebellion (Lies)" being the most successful, having peaked at #19 on the UK Singles Chart. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2005 for Best Alternative Music Album. It received widespread critical acclaim and topped many year-end and decade-end lists. According to the website Metacritic, the album had the second most appearances on end-of-decade Top 10 lists, only behind Radiohead's Kid A.[4] In the updated version of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, it was ranked at #151.

Background[edit]

Funeral was largely recorded over the course of a week at the Hotel2Tango in Montreal, Quebec in August 2003. Additional recording also took place at Régine Chassagne and Win Butler's apartment, and the album was completed in 2004.[5] The production cost of the album was estimated to be around $10,000.[6]

The album was given its title because several band members had recently lost members of their families; Régine Chassagne's grandmother died in June 2003, Win and William Butler's grandfather (swing musician Alvino Rey) in February 2004, and Richard Reed Parry's aunts in April 2004.[7]

Artwork[edit]

The artwork for Funeral was designed by artist and photographer Tracy Maurice, depicting a scrawling quill with foliage growing from its feathers, painted onto a piece of a wooden planter.[8] Maurice, then a Montreal-based artist, had been introduced by a mutual friend to Win Butler, who was looking for the artwork of the band's debut album. Chassagne and Butler took a liking for Maurice's drawings and commissioned her for the task.[9] The design was inspired by Maurice's own collection of antique photographs and early 20th-century illustrated books, as well as the aesthetics of Japanese woodblock prints.[8]

Release[edit]

Funeral was released in Canada and the US on September 14, 2004,[10] and in the UK on February 28, 2005.[11] A highly positive review from Pitchfork, which gave the album a 9.7 out of 10 rating, was frequently cited as a key factor that propelled Funeral into widespread recognition and commercial success.[6][12][13] The album entered the Billboard 200 chart, a first for Merge Records; it was also the fastest-seller in the label's history.[13] By November 2005, the album had sold over half a million copies worldwide,[14] and by March 2007 it had sold nearly 750,000 copies worldwide.[6]

The album is certified Gold by the Record Industry Association of America for over 500,000 copies sold in the US.[15]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic90/100[16]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars[17]
Blender5/5 stars[18]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[19]
The Guardian5/5 stars[20]
Mojo4/5 stars[21]
NME9/10[22]
Pitchfork9.7/10[7]
Q4/5 stars[23]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[24]
The Village VoiceA−[25]

Funeral received universal acclaim from music critics and is commonly hailed as a modern classic. At Metacritic, the album has received an average score of 90, based on 33 reviews. It is put at one of the top 100 albums on Metacritic's list of highest scored albums of all time.[16] AllMusic reviewer James Christopher Monger gave the album a rating of five stars out of five. He described it as "brave, empowering, and dusted with something that many of the indie-rock genre's more contrived acts desperately lack: an element of real danger."[17] Rock critic Robert Christgau gave the album an A−, saying that Funeral was "...too fond of drama, but aware of its small place in the big world, and usually beautiful."[25] Pitchfork gave the album a 9.7 out of 10 rating, and ultimately ranked the album #1 on their Top 50 Albums of 2004 list, as well as #2 on their Top 200 Albums of the 2000s list, after Radiohead's Kid A.[7] Kludge called it a "glorious" debut album, in which Arcade Fire spins "elaborate art-rock full of passion and atmosphere."[26]

Drowned in Sound also highly praised Funeral. Reviewer Jesus Chigley called the album "...empowering and hopeful and euphoric all at once", saying that "it says everything there is to say about mortality and it does it in 10 tracks."[27] Stylus's Josh Drimmer gave Funeral an A, calling it "celebratory, emotionally rich and life-affirming".[28] Tiny Mix Tapes gave the album five stars out of five; "Funeral," the reviewer wrote, "is like nothing you've heard before, and altogether familiar."[29] Reviewing the album in February 2005, Dave Simpson of The Guardian called it "one of the year's best already, by a mile."[20] Zeth Lundy of PopMatters complimented Funeral on its eccentricity, calling it "bizarre at turns and recognizable elsewhere, equally beautiful and harrowing, theatrical and sincere, defying categorization while attempting to create new genres."[30] Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, saying, "Funerals are generally somber affairs, but the Canadian indie rockers' emotionally charged 2004 debut mostly just made us smile. And, okay, mist up a little."[31] In 2017, Canadian music magazine Exclaim! ranked fifth single "Wake Up" as the best song in the band's entire catalogue.[32]

The album was also listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[33]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Consequence of Sound US Top Albums of the 2000s[34] 2009 2
LAS Magazine US Albums of the decade[35] 2009 1
Mojo UK The 100 Greatest Albums of Our Lifetime 1993-2006[36] 2006 60
NME UK The 100 Greatest Albums of the 2000s[37] 2009 7
Paste US Top 50 Albums of the 2000s[38] 2009 3
Pitchfork US Top 200 Albums of the 2000s[39] 2009 2
Rolling Stone US Top 100 Albums of the 2000s[40] 2009 6
Rolling Stone US 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[41] 2012 151
Rolling Stone US 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time[42] 2013 15
Slant Magazine US Top 250 Albums of the 2000s[43] 2010 4
Spin US 125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years[44] 2010 66
Under the Radar US Top 200 Albums of the Decade[45] 2009 1
Q UK 250 Best Albums of Q's Lifetime[46] 2011 19
NME UK The 500 Greatest Albums of the All Time[47] 2013 13
CBC Music CAN 100 Greatest Canadian Albums of the All Time[48] 2013 4
Popmatters US 100 Best Albums of the 2000s[49] 2014 3

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Arcade Fire (Will Butler, Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, Tim Kingsbury, Richard Reed Parry), unless otherwise noted. Writing credits retrieved from ASCAP.

Funeral
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)"
  • Will Butler
  • Win Butler
  • Chassagne
  • Joshua Deu
  • Kingsbury
  • Parry
Butler4:48
2."Neighborhood #2 (Laïka)" Butler, Chassagne3:33
3."Une année sans lumière" Butler, Chassagne3:40
4."Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)"
  • Will Butler
  • Win Butler
  • Chassagne
  • Deu
  • Kingsbury
  • Parry
Butler5:12
5."Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)" Butler4:49
6."Crown of Love" Butler4:42
7."Wake Up" Butler, Chassagne5:39
8."Haiti" Chassagne4:07
9."Rebellion (Lies)"
Butler5:10
10."In the Backseat" Chassagne6:21
Japanese CD edition bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."My Buddy" (Alvino Rey Orchestra) 2:35
2."Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" (August Session)Arcade Fire5:35
3."Brazil" (Ary Barroso cover)Ary Barroso3:56
4."Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" (Live at the Great American Music Hall)Arcade Fire5:57

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Funeral.[50]

Arcade Fire

Additional personnel

  • Sarah Neufeld – violin, string arrangements
  • Owen Pallett – violin, string arrangements
  • Michael Olsen – cello
  • Pietro Amato – horn
  • Anita Fust – harp
  • Sophie Trudeau – violin (track 7)
  • Jessica Moss – violin (track 7)
  • Gen Heistek – viola (track 7)
  • Arlen Thompson – drums (track 7)
  • Mark Lawson – engineering, recording
  • Thierry Amar – recording assistance
  • Ryan Morey – mastering
  • Hilary Treadwell – photography, artwork
  • Tracy Maurice – cover art

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grischow, Chad (October 18, 2011). "The 25 Best Indie Rock Albums of the Last Decade". IGN. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  2. ^ "The 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums Ever". Blender. December 2007. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Mardles, Paul (November 25, 2009). "Albums of the decade No 5: Arcade Fire – Funeral". The Guardian. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  4. ^ "Best Albums of the Decade: A Roundup of Critic Lists - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  5. ^ The Mojo Collection: 4th Edition. Canongate Books. 2007. ISBN 9781847676436.
  6. ^ a b c Frey, Darcy (March 4, 2007). "One Very, Very Indie Band". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Moore, David (September 12, 2004). "Arcade Fire: Funeral". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Goodman, Jessica (September 30, 2015). "Inside the artwork: the story behind Arcade Fire's 'Funeral'". DIY. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  9. ^ Payne, Chris (September 15, 2014). "'Funeral' Turns 10: The Untold Story of Arcade Fire's Album Art & Brooklyn Mural". Billboard. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  10. ^ McMahon, James (September 12, 2019). "Arcade Fire's 'Funeral' at 15: the album that killed indie rock as we knew it". NME. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  11. ^ Schreiber, Ryan (February 14, 2005). "The Arcade Fire". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  12. ^ Frey, Hillary (November 29, 2004). "Pitchforkmedia.com Music Dudes Dictate Culture From Chicago". Observer Media. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Kot, Greg (April 3, 2005). "THE NEW TASTEMAKERS". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
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  15. ^ "American certifications – Funeral – Arcade Fire". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Reviews for Funeral by Arcade Fire". Metacritic. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  17. ^ a b Monger, James Christopher. "Funeral – Arcade Fire". AllMusic. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  18. ^ Weiner, Jonah (February 2005). "Arcade Fire: Funeral". Blender (33): 102. Archived from the original on April 11, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  19. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (November 5, 2004). "Funeral". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 21, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
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  26. ^ Solinas, L.A. "Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike". Kludge. Archived from the original on December 9, 2004. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
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  28. ^ Drimmer, Josh. "Funeral". Stylus magazine. Archived from the original on October 2, 2009. Retrieved August 4, 2008.
  29. ^ WYATT. "Arcade Fire, Funeral". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  30. ^ Lundy, Zeth (September 14, 2004). "The Arcade Fire: Funeral". PopMatters.
  31. ^ Geier, Thom; Jensen, Jeff; Jordan, Tina; Lyons, Margaret; Markovitz, Adam; Nashawaty, Chris; Pastorek, Whitney; Rice, Lynette; Rottenberg, Josh; Schwartz, Missy; Slezak, Michael; Snierson, Dan; Stack, Tim; Stroup, Kate; Tucker, Ken; Vary, Adam B.; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Ward, Kate (December 11, 2009), "THE 100 Greatest MOVIES, TV SHOWS, ALBUMS, BOOKS, CHARACTERS, SCENES, EPISODES, SONGS, DRESSES, MUSIC VIDEOS, AND TRENDS THAT ENTERTAINED US OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS". Entertainment Weekly. (1079/1080):74-84
  32. ^ "Here's Every Arcade Fire Song, Ranked from Worst to Best - Page 1 of 5". Exclaim!. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  33. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (2014). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
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  45. ^ "Top 200 Albums of the Decade". Under the Radar. 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  46. ^ "250 Best Albums of Q's Lifetime". Q. 2011.
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  50. ^ Funeral (CD liner notes). Arcade Fire. Merge Records. 2004.CS1 maint: others (link)
  51. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
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  53. ^ "Albums: Top 100 (For The Week Ending 21 August, 2005)". Jam!. Sun Media. August 25, 2005. Archived from the original on December 26, 2004. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
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  61. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Arcade Fire – Funeral". Music Canada.
  62. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20081115040925/http://www.infodisc.fr/V_CD_05.php?debut=200
  63. ^ "French album certifications – Arcade Fire – Funeral" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  64. ^ "British album certifications – Arcade Fire – Funeral". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Funeral in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  65. ^ "American album certifications – Arcade Fire – Funeral". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]