Arcade Fire gives hipsters a good name. The band’s dense music is as complex as it is accessible. They are indie rock for people who don’t like indie rock. They are also probably the coolest band in your grandmother’s or great-aunt’s iPod and we mean that as a compliment. The six talented musicians that comprise Arcade Fire play a variety of instruments that are way beyond the usual guitar, bass, drums, and piano of the rock genre. They also play the violin, cello, xylophone, glockenspiel, French horn, accordion, mandolin, and hurdy-gurdy. Lyrically, Arcade Fire says more in one song then most bands say in an entire album.
Arcade Fire was founded in 2001 in Montreal. They released their first album in 2004, but their best year was 2011. In February of 2011, Arcade Fire’s third album, The Suburbs, won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. It was not only the first time an indie album received that honor but as of 2014, Arcade Fire is the only artist to win their first and only Grammy in the ceremony’s most celebrated category. Their Grammy victory was also one of the rare times that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave their Album of the Year honors to an artist that actually deserved it. Later in 2011, The Suburbs earned Arcade Fire a Juno Award, a BRIT Award, and the Polaris Music Prize.
Arcade Fire is comprised of Win Butler, Regine Chassagne, Richard Reed Perry, William Butler, Jeremy Gara, and Tim Kingsbury. Butler and Chassagne married in 2003. They welcomed their first child in 2013. Win and William are brothers. The band’s debut album, Funeral, is considered by many to be better than The Suburbs. Funeral picked up a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album, and according to Metacritic, it appeared on more “end-of-the-decade Top 10 lists” than any other album but Radiohead’s Kid A.
Neon Bible dropped in 2007 and has the misfortune of being sandwiched between two of the decade’s best works. A lot of critics liked Neon Bible but some thought it was bloated and overblown. It peaked at number two on the Billboard 200—that was 121 places better than its predecessor. Arcade Fire followed The Suburbs with Reflektor. Like The Suburbs, this album peaked at number one in five countries including the U.S. Reflektor was adored by critics and appeared on a bunch of year-end, best-of lists. The opus proved that Arcade Fire is here for the long haul and their previous successes were anything but accidents.