Stylish rompers, fake news: Arcade Fire's album launch channels buzz words
This cover image released by Columbia Records shows "Everything Now," a release by Arcade Fire. (Columbia Records via AP)
David Friend, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, July 28, 2017 10:44AM EDT
Arcade Fire has found an unusually satirical way to launch their fifth album on social media.
Leading up to the release of "Everything Now," in stores on Friday, the Quebec art-rock band has been flooding Facebook and Twitter with the kind of social commentary they usually reserve for their music.
The tongue-in-cheek posts created buzz -- and some confusion -- for their listeners trying to decipher truth from fiction on their news feeds.
Arcade Fire took jabs at boundless consumerism, the culture of social media hot takes, and some even mocked their own image.
Here are five ways the band launched their new disco-synth album with a side dish of shade:
HEADING OFF CRITICS: Some of Arcade Fire's sharpest barbs at capitalism were launched shortly after the indie band signed with music giant Columbia Records. Perhaps sensing the irony of the deal, they made jokes to suggest they're not oblivious to being labelled sell-outs by their fans. A series of tweets parodied the tactics of major label publicity, plugging a fake club mix of one of their songs by international DJ Calvin Harris and a phoney alternate version of another by rising Canadian hip hop producer Kaytranada. But Arcade Fire apparently isn't against buying into some record label gimmicks. Their new album is available digitally and on CD, cassette and vinyl, with a few different cover art options and bundles to choose from (the "language" vinyl edition comes with 20 different variations of the cover artwork, in 20 different languages).
UNREAL MERCHANDISE: Listeners hoping to slip into an official Arcade Fire romper were left disappointed when they learned the band was only kidding about launching an extensive line of branded clothing. The group had teased a line of products branded with the "Everything Now" logo, the faux "finance company" responsible for marketing their album. The fake product line included a slow cooker and their own flavour of Ben and Jerry's ice cream called "My Body is a Cone."
FAKE NEWS: Headlines on phoney celebrity news sites confused some fans but had others playing along with the joke. "You won't believe how Arcade Fire's Win Butler got a six-pack in just 6 minutes a day" screamed a headline on hoax website RockandRipped.com with an outline of the frontman's "shredded rock star workout." Another webpage spoofed the Hollywood Reporter with an imagined story about real-life director Terry Gilliam, known for his troubled film productions, being entangled in a unfinished music video from their 2004 album "Funeral." Gilliam seemed to appreciate the joke, as he tweeted the false story from his official account.
FAKE REVIEW: Perhaps sensing the lukewarm reviews "Everything Now" would get from some critics, Arcade Fire shared a "premature premature evaluation" of the album that mocked the predictability of music reviews. A reference to popular music website Stereogum's "premature evaluation" feature, the fake review chastises writers who jump to conclusions with their hot takes on a new release. "We'll compare 'Everything Now' unfavourably to both 'Funeral' and 'The Suburbs,' while calling it a bounceback after 'Reflektor'," the article reads. Arcade Fire's predictions weren't entirely wrong though -- several music critics fell into every one of their predictions in their own reviews.
BLURRED LINES: Not every tweet escaped scrutiny from their fans. The band found itself in the centre of a mini-controversy earlier this week after their "Everything Now" conglomerate sent an email to concertgoers demanding they wear "hip and trendy" clothes at an upcoming show. The backlash was swift as some people recalled when Arcade Fire actually implemented a dress code for their 2014 tour. They seemed to be kidding this time -- and eventually clarified they wouldn't enforce the dress code -- but it was clear that not everybody was laughing.