Review: Arcade Fire's "Everything Now" Album

Everything Now is an ambitious work, aiming to be an all-encompassing statement about modern life, but it fails at its goals.

In both structure and content, it is reminiscent of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest—chronologically and thematically mashed up, cyclical, starting where it should end and ending where it should begin, with three tracks that include the title “Everything Now” and two with the title “Infinite Content,” using underscores to distinguish between the tracks. The album is laced with commentary about addiction, fame, and entertainment, but whereas Infinite Jest captures these themes perfectly, Everything Now falls flat.

There are some moments that stand out. The full-length version of the title track, “Everything Now,” has a catchy melody (although it basically just sounds a lot like a sped up, danceable version of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”). 

“Creature Comfort” also features a strong melody, but the message, repeated ad nauseum with lyrics like On and on I don’t know what I want/On and on I don’t know if I want it, seems to comment on the consumerism we are all surrounded by constantly, but also lacks any semblance of depth or nuance. 

“Put Your Money on Me” would be perfectly listenable if more compact, but it gets stale at 6 minutes in length.

Win Butler’s vocals in “We Don’t Deserve Love” turn downright Bowie-esque by the end, and that is one of the few genuine moments of beauty that appears on the record, despite being highly derivative. 

Everything Now will likely be remembered as an odd little offering by an otherwise solid band—it may be worth a listen or two, or revisiting every once in awhile, but it won’t garner the devoted followings that Funeral or The Suburbs have, and nor should it. 

Stream/Download "Everything Now" by Arcade Fire