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Arcade Fire – Funeral

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Funeral (2004)

This is one of the only albums I can think of (maybe the only one) that infuses and intermixes happiness, sadness, childhood memories, and intensity that can be, at the same time, uplifting and heartbreaking, mysterious, and so full of love. This is an album, every time I listen to it (because no matter how many times I listen to it, it never gets old, but is always new, like love), that it fills me with every emotion known to man and nothing contradicts. It draws out in me a longing that the Germans call sehnsucht. It’s like trying to remember the best dream in the world, but failing, having the perfect thought or realization, but being unable to wrap your mind around it or put it into practice, or the way you feel when you remember what it was like to look into the eyes of your loved one who is now gone, for whatever reason.

This album represents everything that is beautiful to me – about finding beauty in the unexpected. It’s like I realize that life doesn’t make sense, and that’s okay for some weird reason. I think, most of all, it reminds me of childhood, when we were too young to realize that our dreams were impossible, and because of this, they were possible. I remember, when I was a child, I liked to try to write books and draw pictures and pretend, and everything was fresh and new – where the forest by my house, probably just an acre in size, might as well have been the dark forest of ancient Germany that would take days to explore and tromp around in. It reminds me of my first loves, my first crushes, the awkwardness and beauty of growing up, the tragedy of growing up, and the slow pains of what it is to lose your childhood and innocence, and the loss of pure friendships, which seem to become harder and harder to find as one grows older (when one’s heart grows colder, and when you can’t see that it’s still alive).

That’s what Funeral is to me. It’s like when you grow up and become an adult, there’s a funeral held for your childhood, and you’re the only one that’s invited, looking at your coffin being carried out by the ghosts of your dreams, which are buried with it. Society expects you to put away your childhood and be the perfect adult, and not do anything “childish,” like pretend, love, or laugh too much, or blow milk out of your nose for fun, or what have you, so you can become crotchety old man or woman who frowns upon young upstarts who do the same thing. But in Arcade Fire and with Funeral, there is this duality of joy and loss, of remembering childhood and all its possibilities, and looking back and realizing that things can never be the same. It’s like how the greatest misery is rehearsing memories of happiness , realizing that all those things you were no longer are. I love this album, and within each song, so brilliantly written and executed, I hear echoes of the human soul that is evident throughout all ages, of our struggles and beauty, longings, and love.

Funeral, to me, is a reminder that life is as beautiful and lovely as it is sad. It is not one, or the other, but both. What’s weird is I have all these impressions, and I’ve only been listening to this for a short while (perhaps a month or two). This is one of those rare albums where I love every song – I have no favorite, and each speaks to me in a different way. From the excitement of Neighborhood 1, to learning how to try (for all your life), I love this album. That is all I can say. What’s strange is – I have yet to listen to anything else by Arcade Fire – and even if I never did for the rest of my life, I would be completely happy knowing this album. It’s like when I listen to it, I’m drunk on it, and is a complete and utter eargasm (nay – a DOUBLE eargasm). Yeah. That’s right.

On that note…yeah! I don’t just love this album – I’m in love with it. And I hope the magic never fades.

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