Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Listening to: "Intervention" by Arcade Fire

I'm the last person to ask about popular music. Most of what I listen to is at least 10 or 20 years old. I tend to listen to the same album or group relentlessly. My Nick Drake obsession lasted more than a year.

My iPod shuffles from Gregorian chant to the Clash to the Beatles to Joan Baez to Stephane Grappelli to Death Cab for Cutie. I doubt anyone else could stand it. I rarely pay attention to current music, listen to the radio, or buy songs, so I only stumble onto new things when I'm out shopping or at the gym.

Last week, I heard an amazing song in a consignment shop in Beacon Hill and had to ask what it was: "Intervention" by Arcade Fire (2007). I expect I'll be listening to this band a lot. How often do you find a political rock anthem with an enormous, authentic pipe organ wailing in the background? With my Catholic roots, any half-decent song with a pipe organ will grab my attention.

The song is about war and the kind of religion that drives it. As I hear it, I keep seeing images of George Bush (I listen anyway) and Iraq in my mind. It's kind of corny and confusing, admittedly, but it's sung with such earnestness and passion that I can't get it out of my head. The link shows a video with clips from Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin (1925). This heavy-handed, sentimental treatment doesn't enhance the song so it's better to listen rather than watch (this from a nerd who grew up watching silent movies on TV).

Plus you can really dance to it. I give it a 10!

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