#51 Arcade Fire: We

Ah, old dependable Arcade Fire! I can always count on including them in the year end list with no controversy! Their sixth album is a miner return to form – not really coming close to equaling their imperial phase of their first four albums, but certainly superior to their messy and unfocused fifth ‘Everything Now’. There are real moments of stirring beauty, as the band lean into their real status as the stadium rock band that it’s not embarrassing to admit you like. Like, never embarrassing. Up to around the 27th August 2022, this statement is watertight. To me, they’re the 21st century New Order, in that their fantastic music is almost always enough to cover up for their frequently awful lyrics (“But some people want the rock without the roll/But we all know, there’s no God without soul“, uuuuuurgh, “We unsubscribe/Fuck season five“, uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurgh!). ‘We’ is a tight, anthemic effort, which might consider pleasing the crowd more important than making any real creative strides, but nonetheless crowd pleases enough to let its lack of ambition slide.

Aaaaaaaw man!! For fuck’s sake! Will everyone please stop doing this shit?! I’m not even in the top sodding fifty yet and I’ve already been forced to highlight male sexual misconduct in my Big|Brave, Camp Cope and Riverby posts, and now I have you address ‘allegations’ against the very artist I’m writing about!! Arcade Fire have long traded on their feel good wholesomeness. They have always been a completely straight down the line earnest family band! The band contained an actual married couple! I can’t think of any reasons that marriage between Win and Régine Chassagne might have gone through some turbulent times recently! And two of the band members are actually brothers! Well… until recently… Wow, this whole tower seems to be tumbling to dust recently, doesn’t it?

It’s a messy and gross situation. Yet I didn’t find it egregious enough to feel too icky to even include Arcade Fire’s music on the year end list, a punishment I have meted out to Arctic Monkeys and – more recently – Kanye West in the past. Let me first begin by stating that I personally completely believe the victims’ side of the story. I can see why Win Butler would explain his side of the story the way he has, but also that everything he has said in response is a clearly reactive position. I almost said that I have a modicum of respect for Butler for not just flat out denying the ‘allegations’ and claiming to have never met this women, never even previously knowing what a woman is, claiming his sheltered upbringing means he doesn’t actually know how his penis works, that his son is actually a ‘A.I‘ style humanoid robot, and that, actually, he’s gay, so can we concentrate on that please? Almost said it. Until I realised that the only reason he did so was likely because the evidence presented to him (including, logically, a photo of his penis that he sent to an eighteen year old*) meant it was impossible to deny. Whatever he’s attempting to ‘debunk’ in his responses is probably the sliver of circumstances that he could possibly call into question.

(*did he confirm that, yes, that is my genitalia? I guess that once it’s confirmed that it’s you messaging, it’s probably more embarrassing to admit that you’re sending photos of other people’s junk to teenage girls. Like, whose cock is that, Win? Where did you get that dickpic from?? Sorry, this is serious…)

I’d also like to reiterate that the US  Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) states that “Sexual assault is used to describe any sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim”. There is little doubt in my mind that Win Butler sexually assaulted these women. These very young women. One would be classed as a child under EU law, but not under UK law and – importantly – Canadian law, so he’s alright there. And he always knew that the youngest was legal because “I googled her and knew that she was 18“. So that’s totally OK then. You, a 36 year old world famous musician, saw an attractive fan at a charity basketball game that you had arranged, Googled her, saw that she was 18 years old, and decided to pursue a relationship that included you later sending photos of your gross old Dad Dick. Phew, glad we cleared that up, thought you were being weird for a moment there.

And why have I nonetheless included Arcade Fire…?

Dude, I’m not so sure anymore. I guess I always remembered the ‘accusations’ as being of him merely being grossly inappropriate, or perhaps an awkward power play and cringe-laden consent plea similar to Aziz Ansari’s own misdemeanours, but reading about everything in more detail for this post… I dunno, man, this stuff is really gross. The victims were aged between 18 and 23, Butler was 35 at the youngest and was at all time in one of the biggest rock bands in the world. I’ve focused on one story by an 18 year old victim, but many of the behaviour is echoed across the five accusations that have come out. That have come out. I believe we have to assume these are the only five times Win has ever acted grossly inappropriately with women/girls half his age. I’m sure when I started writing this post my head was full of caveats and explanations, empathy and sympathy. Now I don’t know. This isn’t good.

Baseless, baseless
It’s all just baseless
You’re not that kind of guy
Keep on praying to Jesus
You can take it up with God

We’ve been here before…

Shit, it’s a really good album as well!


2018 #37

2013 #6

2010 #5

2007 #12

Man, look at that back catalogue!

Metacritic: 73

5 thoughts on “#51 Arcade Fire: We

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