Every Saturday I get up and think, “It’s running morning.” On weekdays I get up and think, “I could do some yoga.” Sometimes I even get up and do some. Usually I stay in bed until it’s too late. This morning I got up and thought “Great! I can listen to Arcade Fire again and dance!” OK, it’s not running, it’s not yoga (which is actually quite hard work, all that shifting your body weight around) and it’s not high impact aerobics BUT on the other hand, it’s something I actually want to do, which has to be worth quite a bit.
So, clearly it’s catchy and tuneful, which I like. I can’t be doing with this industrial type of dance, like the metallic clash of knives banging against each other, or the scrape of aircraft manoeuvring about within hangars.
Reflektor is a two disc album since at 75 minutes, it’s one minute too long to fit onto one CD. Considering that over one minute’s worth of this is silence, leading to the “hidden” tracks, this is more of a statement than a practicality. On the Internet, I learn that Reflektor is a concept album.
What’s the concept? Well, songs 9 and 10 are called Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice) and It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus), and there’s a statue of the two of them on the front of the album – Eurydice being a wood nymph and Orpheus her husband, who followed her down into the Underworld when she died to bring her back. The only thing he had to remember was not to look at her until she had returned. However, doubting her, he looked back just before they got back to daylight and she vanished back into the Underworld.
12 is called Afterlife, and 13, the last track, Supersymmetry (with some ghostly, mysterious sounds aka “bonus tracks” attached to the end). So there’s definitely a theme going there. What exactly it is, I don’t know. The first few tracks are more worldly and modern, for example, Flashbulb Eyes clearly refers to the press and our relationship with it, and an interpretation of We Exist is that it is a musician’s lament to the impersonal way in which bands are treated by reviewers and indeed the public. However I think it would be uncharitable to take this as the only interpretation. I do like ambiguous lyrics and there are myriads of theories going on at the wonderful discussion site songmeanings.com .
Opening track Reflektor could be taken as a musing on the dominance of technology in our lives above reality, or about the relationship between artist, art and observer. Personally, I like the way the lyrics fit in with the Eurydice/Orpheus myth, with their talk about life and death, darkness and light, and the sentiment that if one can’t find what one wants in Heaven, then Heaven is not worth caring about. I also think that in the constant repetition of “you were just a reflektor” rather than “the connector” the song is saying something about illusion and what it is to be deceived. This is similar to Plato’s argument in his Symposium, that the gods had tricked Orpheus all along and had only sent him away with an apparition.
The critics say that the tracks are a bit long, but that’s a positive thing for me – it’s much nicer to be able to get into a dance track rather than have them finish before you are ready.
It’s quite odd to find an album that causes me to want to think and to dance at the same time. Luckily I quite like doing both.
Tomorrow, I’m disappointed to remember, is a running day.