Do Music Reviews Matter To You?

arcadefireguyaroch-375db317781dda6774e2cfceef14df850728f081-s40-c85

Arcade Fire’s new album, Reflektor, was the target of mercilessly negative reviews. But did any of them change the way people feel about the band and its music?

By Robin Hilton (npr)

Last week’s for the new record, Reflektor, sparked a conversation here in the All Songs Considered office about the weight of a writer’s words, and whether those words have any real effect on a band’s level of success (success in this case being album sales, or otherwise building a fan base).

Twenty years ago (or maybe less), a negative review in print could kill a band. One out of five stars (or a two out of 10) meant no one would buy the record and few people would turn out for live shows. In some cases it was the difference between a band getting picked up by a label or remaining forever unsigned, living mostly in oblivion.

These days, I’m not so sure negative reviews have as much of an effect. If someone wants to know whether or not they like a record, they’ll probably just listen to it online somewhere. It really depends on the band and where it is in its lifespan. A stellar, four- or five-star review for a new or emerging artist could be huge for them. It looks good in press releases and ads. Pull quotes end up on album cover stickers, and the otherwise casual listener might be more inclined to check out the music. For bigger, more established artists, such as Arcade Fire, a bad review probably isn’t going to change what fans think of the band or its music.

Regardless, more than anything, reviews — good or bad — get conversations going. Like Oscar Wilde said, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about” and last week everyone was talking about Arcade Fire. Even though many of the reviews were shockingly terrible (and in some cases, I think, ), even the casual listener is probably going to check out Reflektor just to see what the fuss is about.

But what do you think? Do you even read reviews? If so, do you decide what to listen to or avoid based on what you read? Are there any writers you particularly enjoy or trust more than others? Tell us in the comments section.

Thanks!

“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

STREAM Arcade Fire’s ‘Reflektor’

Win Butler of Arcade Fire performs in New York City. Photo:  Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Win Butler of Arcade Fire performs in New York City. Photo: Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The band’s epic double disc is available on YouTube

After a promotional rollout including surprise shows, teaser videos and Saturday Night Live, the wait is over: Arcade Fire’s new album Reflektor is available to hear in its entirety. An official YouTube stream became available today, set to footage from the 1959 film Black Orpheus. “It’s one of my favorite films of all time,” Win Butler recently told Rolling Stone.

In his recent review, David Fricke gave the album four-and-a-half stars, calling it “the best album Arcade Fire have ever made.”

Reflektor is out October 29th on Merge. Stream it below:

Arcade Fire – Reflektor (Full Album Teaser – Official)

Published on Oct 24, 2013
http://www.arcadefire.com
Get ‘Reflektor’ on iTunes http://smarturl.it/reflektoralbumit?I…
Amazon http://smarturl.it/reflektoralbumamzn…
Arcade Fire Store http://smarturl.it/reflektorafstore?I…

0:00:00 Reflektor
0:07:34 We Exist
0:13:17 Flashbulb Eyes
0:16:00 Here Comes the Night Time
0:22:30 Normal Person
0:26:53 You Already Know
0:30:51 Joan of Arc
0:46:22 Here Comes the Night Time II
0:49:07 Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)
0:55:23 It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)
1:02:02 Porno
1:08:05 Afterlife
1:14:02 Supersymmetry

Arcade Fire’s Brooklyn shows bought out… by scalpers!

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Remember those bad old days when scalpers screwed LCD Soundsystem fans and Pearl Jam even tried to sue Ticketmaster? Seems all like ancient history, right? Well, looks like things haven’t changed all that much after all, as evidenced by what just happened with Arcade Fire’s upcoming shows in Brooklyn.

About one minute after tickets went on sale today at noon for the October 18th and 19th gigs at 299 Meserole Street in Brooklyn, they were sold out. Fans who had pre-ordered the album got in on advanced sales yesterday, but anyone hoping to snag tickets today were likely out of luck. Unless, of course, you were a soulless scalper.

As Complex points out, 120 available tickets for the Friday show are already going for $175 to $2,000 on Stubhub, with 103 up for Saturday at $199 to $1,500 (as of this posting). See for yourself:

arcade-prices1

arcadee-fire-prices2

The band is going by the moniker The Reflektors for the gigs, in recognition of their upcoming fourth album. But the only thing these shows are reflecting right now is how greedy some people can be, and how much fun they can suck right out of what should be a really special show. Hopefully these jackasses don’t try to mess with Arcade Fire-featuring Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit show, because that’d just be a low blow.

Arcade Fire to perform in Brooklyn Oct 18 and 19

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire will return to New York next weekend in support of their LP, Reflektor. As Arcade Fire Tube points out, posters advertising a pair of Brooklyn shows for The Reflektors have sprung up in the borough. The Reflektors was the name Arcade Fire went by for their trio of Montreal shows last month, and similar to the Montreal shows, the Brooklyn shows will require formal attire or costume for entrance. According to Arcade Fire Tube, it’s unclear where exactly the shows will take place “due to permit logistics,” so stay tuned.

arcade-fire-nyc

Below watch the band’s short film Here Comes the Night Time:

Arcade Fire – “Reflektor” Video Directed By Anton Corbijn

arcade-fire-reflektor-video

Arcade Fire’s hotly anticipated “Reflektor” video, directed by Anton Corbijn, is finally here a few hours early and despite being a little jaded from the tornado of hype that’s gone on today, you may find it pretty damn incredible. The whole thing is so big, so weird, so overwhelmingly stylish, and beautiful, not to mention it’s all shot in that stark black and white that made Corbijn iconic. It’s the sort of thing that already tops every other music video this week by the two minute mark, and that’s not even the halfway point. Watch below.

Reflektor is out 10/29 via Merge.

This is the album cover, and Reflektor is a double album.

Arcade-Fire-Reflektor-608x608

Report From Arcade Fire’s Surprise Show At Montreal’s Salsathèque

Last night at Montreal’s Club Salsathèque, Arcade Fire performed songs from their upcoming double album Reflektor for a crowd of 200 people. The show was announced yesterday morning when a poster for “The Reflektors” appeared under the “Parties” section of Salsathèque’s website, saying the event would take place on 9/9 at 9PM and cost $9. Formal attire or a costume was required. Cameras and cell phones were strictly banned. I headed over to see what was going on.

Hopeful attendees had started lining up outside the venue around noon. The crowd contained a mixed bag of people in suits, dresses, and all kinds of crazy costumes, with others who didn’t get the memo about the dress code. Rumous circulated throughout the day of our outfits being “judged” before we could gain admission to the show. The bouncers periodically looked us over and gave warnings to people dressed inappropriately — no jeans, no tennis shoes, etc. — and this created a lot of anxiety among us. Some ran to H&M for a quick outfit tuneup, others called up significant others for suit pants deliveries. My favorite was this guy who had gone into the office in the morning, heard about the show, asked his boss for the rest of the day off, and scrounged together a “Mr. Reflektor” superhero outfit that he put on over his work clothes.

Things got more exciting when the band appeared in a black SUV at the end of the block and walked along the lineup to the club’s entrance. This happened twice — once around 5PM for soundcheck, and again around 7PM for the show. The first time, they showed up donning the oversized heads they had worn in the “Sprawl II” and “Reflektor” videos. Later, they came back in masks, white and red suits, and skull makeup.

In the end, no one was denied entry for his or her outfit, but there was a stylist for the event who handed out white jumpsuits to anyone who had underdressed for the occasion. Apparently, the costumes were required as part of a video shoot, although it was never clear what type of video. Later there would be a film crew recording the whole set.

Doors opened at 8:30PM and we made our way up a long staircase lined with lights, past a Salsa dancing school, and into the wonderfully disco’d out Salsathèque. The walls and ceiling were made of mirrors, there were blinking and colored lights everywhere, and an elevated light up dance floor looked exactly like the light up dance floors in every disco movie ever.

The band took the stage at 9PM wearing the costumes they had donned on the street. It was immediately clear that a few things were different about Arcade Fire. Gone was the second drum kit of their early years and the Suburbs tour. Instead, they had two additional percussionists playing a mixture of congas, timbales, wood blocks, bongos, and other instruments, adding much more rhythmic complexity and power to their sound throughout the set. There were no horn players present and Sarah Neufeld was the only devoted violinist; Owen Pallett was there, and switched between violin and keyboards. Otherwise, the band’s instrumentation consisted of guitars, drums, and synths/keys. In this way, Arcade Fire presented themselves not as barons of symphonic indie rock anthems, but as the tightest of house bands ready to provide a sweaty night of dancing tunes. That said, and as anyone should expect, their anthemic choruses still crept in between the beats.

The set was short and only contained songs from Reflektor.

Various loose threads relating to Arcade Fire’s forthcoming album Reflektor have been showing up online for a few weeks. Tonight, at 9PM, the band will release the first single/title track, as well as its Anton Corbijn-directed video (though the song already leaked online over the weekend). And now, we know what the album cover looks like, since, as Pitchfork points out, a listing for the album appeared on New Zealand iTunes. If that’s actually the cover, the image comes from an Auguest Rodin sculpture, which depicts the doomed Greek-myth couple of Orpheus and Eurydice. More intriguing, that New Zealand iTunes listing seems to imply that Reflektor could be a double album, which would be truly badass. Below, check out a new 30-second trailer for the album, which includes footage from a Haitian parade.

The Reflektors – Arcade Fire

Reflektor is out 10/29 on Merge. Also, the band played another secret show tonight at the Montreal salsa club Salsathèque, at 9PM, with a $9 cover charge.