Arcade Fire closed their Coachella set with the anthemic “Wake Up,” adding some crowd interaction with a couple hundred glow in the dark, multi-colored beach balls.
The Arcade Fire released their second video for their latest album The Suburbs with, The Wilderness Downtown. It’s a synthesis of web technology, music and video to create an experience. It uses HTML 5 to drive much of video so for now Google Chrome or Safari 5 are the only browsers that can play it fully. (Firefox can, albeit somewhat lacking).
Before the video begins, you’re asked to enter the street you grew up on, and then the video begins to load. In the video, multiple screens pop up, one with video of a unisex person running through a suburban street and other windows playing animations. You’ll write a message to your younger self, and that address you entered will appear as a Google Earth flyover.
This isn’t their first foray into viral, interactive videos. With their last album, they released a web video, Neon Biblethat let you interact with Win Butler’s hands.
Peter Gabriel’s Scratch My Back continues the trend of cover albums. However, Gabriel covers both his peers and those who may have been inspired by him.
The album begins softly with David Bowie’s Heroes that builds into an aching crescendo. All the songs have a lush, symphonic, orchestral arrangements–strings, pianos, horns–and often to a repetitive degree. Sometimes this works, in covering the Magnetic Fields’ Book of Love, it becomes a tender ballad despite the odd lyrics. Paul Simon’s The Boy in The Bubble and Arcade Fire’s My Body is a Cage become soulless. He closes with Radiohead’s Street Spirit which goes out in a baritone drone.
Covering songs is always risky, and there are risks on Scratch My Back. They’re interesting choices, but none will reach the level of Johnny Cash remaking Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt.