|Studio album by Arcade Fire|
|Released||October 28, 2013|
|Recorded||Sonovox Studios, Montreal|
|Genre||Dance-rock, indie rock, art rock|
|Length||75:12 / 85:14 (with hidden track)|
|Label||Merge (US), Sonovox (UK)|
|Producer||James Murphy, Markus Dravs, Arcade Fire|
|Arcade Fire chronology|
|Singles from Reflektor|
Reflektor is the fourth studio album by the Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire, released on October 28, 2013 on Merge Records. A double album, Reflektor was co-produced by former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy, regular Arcade Fire producer Markus Dravs, and the band itself.
Influenced by Haitian rara music, the 1959 film Black Orpheus and Søren Kierkegaard's essay, "The Present Age", Reflektor's release was preceded by a guerrilla marketing campaign inspired by veve drawings, and the release of a limited edition single, "Reflektor", credited to the fictional band, The Reflektors, on September 9, 2013.
- 1 Background
- 2 Recording
- 3 Writing and composition
- 4 Promotional campaign
- 5 Artwork
- 6 Release
- 7 Reception
- 8 Track listing
- 9 Personnel
- 10 Charts
- 11 Certifications
- 12 References
The album's origins stem from a trip that both vocalist/guitarist Win Butler and multi-instrumentalist Régine Chassagne took to her family's home country of Haiti. Butler said: "Going to Haiti for the first time with Regine was the beginning of a major change in the way that I thought about the world. Usually, I think you have most of your musical influences locked down by the time you're 16. There was a band I [feel] changed me musically, just really opened me up to this huge, vast amount of culture and influence I hadn't been exposed to before, which was really life-changing." Inspired by the country's rara music, Butler and Chassagne incorporated elements of this sound into the band's new material, alongside Jamaican influences. Butler stated, "I mean, it's not like our band trying to play Haitian music. I just felt like we were opened up to a new influence. Bob Marley probably felt the same way the first time he heard Curtis Mayfield."
Recording in Louisiana, the band began work on Reflektor in 2011, and subsequently moved to Jamaica the following year with producer Markus Dravs. Working on roughly sixty song ideas, the band wrote and recorded in an abandoned castle, named Trident: "The castle was built in 1979, or something, by this eccentric Jamaican dude who just wanted to hang out with royalty. And it kind of worked. After about five years he couldn't afford to pay the bill, so it had been sitting empty for many years. I met a dude who was planning on turning it into a hotel, so we just rented it off him for cheap and there was nothing in there. We brought in some beds and a piano and some gear." The album was mostly recorded on analog tape.
In August 2012, the band also began working with producer and former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy, whom the band had been wanting to work with for over six years. Butler: "LCD Soundsystem to me is like New Order and the B-52's and we deeply share a lot of those influences, and we did completely different things with it. Régine is kind of the person who dances. At any given minute, if you can get Régine to dance, you're kind of on the right track, so I think we just wanted to make a record that Régine could dance to."
Regarding the band's decision to record a double album, Win Butler stated, "The record is really long. We intended to make a short record and we ended up with 18 songs that were all between six and eight minutes and we were like, 'Uh oh, I think we screwed up making a short record.' Splitting it over the two halves enables you to get into the different worlds of the records." According to Butler, 50 or 60 songs were written for the album.
Writing and composition
Primary lyricist Win Butler notes that the 1959 film Black Orpheus inspired his lyrics on Reflektor, in particular its themes of isolation and death: "Black Orpheus is one of my favorite films of all time, which is set in Carnival in Brazil. The Orpheus myth is the original love triangle, Romeo and Juliet kind of story. Lyrically, it's not literally about my life. I feel like I'm kind of a bit of a sponge in a way. Like, if people around me are going through things, I find it very hard not to be empathetic." Also influential to the album's lyrical content is an essay by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, entitled "The Present Age". Butler states, "[It's] about the reflective age. This is like in 1846, and it sounds like he's talking about modern times. He's talking about the press and alienation, and you kind of read it and you're like, 'Dude, you have no idea how insane it's gonna get.'"
The album tracks, "Here Comes the Night Time" and "Here Comes the Night Time II", each appear on the album's respective halves, with Butler noting, "The second one was actually written first and it almost starts the second half of the record – kind of like after the [Haitian] Carnival. Both of them are very much influenced by when the sun is just starting to go down in Port au Prince, and it's really intense because most of the city doesn't have electricity so everyone is just racing to get home before dark." The first of the two tracks references missionaries, in part: "The absurdity that you can go to a place like Haiti and teach people something about God. Like, the opposite really seems to be true, in my experience."
The track "Supersymmetry" was originally written for the film Her, which the band was composing simultaneously while working on Reflektor. A different version of the song appears during the film's end credits.
In early August, a cryptic logo, which incorporated the word "reflektor", appeared on the walls of cities around the world. The street art was reported to be part of a guerrilla marketing campaign for the new Arcade Fire album. The upcoming album and its release date had already been announced via a message on Twitter, written as a reply to a single fan. An Instagram account posted pictures of the symbol, and included a video of one being drawn.
On August 26, Arcade Fire confirmed that the work was related to them, with a large mural on a building in downtown Manhattan, which included four of the symbols and the words "Arcade Fire 9pm 9/9". On September 9, 2013, the band released two videos for the first single and title track from the album. Win Butler later wrote that the Reflektor graffiti was inspired by Haitian veve drawings.
The Reflektor campaign received negative publicity when an article that appeared in Slate in September 2013 depicted instances of property damage that resulted from the advertisements. The band made an apology, explaining that the viral wall stencils were meant to use chalk or other washable media, rather than spray paint, nor binding glues under the paper advertisements.
The build-up to the release of the album was described by Pitchfork as "unusual, ambitious, vague, confounding, a little heavy-handed, and very successful". It was compared to similar campaigns for albums by Daft Punk and Kanye West, also released in 2013. In such campaigns, the music itself becomes one part of a wider experience. Although the events surrounding the album's release take place in the real world, their impermanence suits the use of social media, where the campaign is documented and shared. In an interview, Butler stated that he enjoyed anticipating the release of an album, and that the build-up to the release of Reflektor felt like "a weird art project" or "throwing a good party".
The band released a 15-second music clip on Spotify on September 2, 2013, titled "9pm 9/9" under the album name Reflektor. On September 9, 2013, the band announced a last-minute secret show under the name "The Reflektors" at Montreal's Salsathèque Club, at 9PM for $9. Following the band's September 28 appearance on Saturday Night Live, a 30-minute concert special aired on NBC featuring cameos including Rainn Wilson, Bono, Ben Stiller, James Franco, Michael Cera and Zach Galifianakis. The band debuted three tracks, "Here Comes the Night Time", "We Exist" and "Normal Person". On October 12 the band released a teaser video containing thirty seconds of the song "Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)". On October 21, the song "Afterlife" was debuted in a music video, playing over edited clips of Marcel Camus's 1959 film Black Orpheus. On October 21, the song "Normal Person" aired on The Colbert Report, with the band identified not as Arcade Fire but only as "The Reflektors". On October 24, a lyric video for the Official Reflektor Full Album Teaser, playing over longer clips of Marcel Camus's 1959 film Black Orpheus was posted to the band's website.
|Los Angeles Times|||
|Consequence of Sound||A-|
Reflektor has received acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received a average score of 80 based on 48 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Rolling Stone gave the album a rating of four and a half stars out of five, and stated "It is also a perfect summary of their group's still-fervent indie-born hunger after a decade of mainstream success, and specifically, the decisive, indulgent ambition on Reflektor: a two-record, 75-minute set of 13 songs and the best album Arcade Fire have ever made". Pitchfork Media gave the album a 9.2, the band's highest rating since their debut Funeral, stating "Reflektor is a triumph, but not a victory lap; the band never sounds content enough for that."
USA Today gave three out of four stars and stated that on the album, "much of the music — audacious, heavily distorted and bubbling with electronics — sounds magnificently fresh. As the ensemble shape-shifts from the cleaner rock template of The Suburbs and Neon Bible to exotic beat-driven mashups, Arcade owes a debt to David Bowie (who has a brief cameo) and Achtung-era U2. Co-producer James Murphy of defunct LCD Soundsystem also brings his rhythmic chops to the mix in dizzying dance hybrids."
The Quietus notes that "the question of what comes next, though, isn't one that Arcade Fire need fear any longer. With Reflektor, they've answered it strongly. Four albums in, their sound glitters with many facets and possibilities – they can be proud of how it reflects on them."
PopMatters journalist J.C. Maçek III said "Reflektor doesn't contain any actually bad songs (the closest we can peg on the collection would be a small amount of filler material), but the impact of a full listen is one of catchy excitement and impressive pop rock which slowly rolls downhill into the murky sonic depths of the more somber second half without any truly punctuating final moment of the record itself."
Reflektor fails to "fully justify the size of it and it doesn't end so much as unravel", according to Q. "While Reflektor isn't so flawed as to strip them of their sash, it's a wobble on the podium, a needless error of judgement that could have been easily avoided had they heeded that... old truism. Here is proof you really can have too much of a good thing,” reviewer Simon Goddard concluded, giving it a 3/5 rating.
At Rolling Stone, they ranked the album at No. 5 on their "50 Best Albums of 2013" list, writing that the fact that album has the "ability to provoke actual feelings is what makes this great." Stereogum ranked Reflektor at number ten on their "The 50 Best Albums of 2013" list, stating: "[Reflektor is] the record that Arcade Fire didn't need to risk making, but they did anyway and we're lucky to have it. This is an album that sets a new milestone. From now on, we're listening to a post-Reflektor Arcade Fire, and they've never been more exciting.". Drowned in Sound placed Reflektor 5th in their favorite albums of the year list, despite initially giving the album a negative review. 17 music journalists of the Polish media company Agora SA (Gazeta Wyborcza, Gazeta.pl, TOK FM) placed Reflektor at number one in their ranking of 10 Best Foreign Albums of 2013.
|Consequence of Sound||7||Top 50 Albums of 2013|
|Drowned in Sound||5||Drowned in Sound's Favorite Albums of 2013|
|Gazeta Wyborcza||1||10 Best Foreign Albums of 2013|
|The Line of Best Fit||15||Best Fit Fifty: Albums of 2013|
|NME||7||50 Best Records of 2013|
|Rolling Stone||5||50 Best Albums of 2013|
|Stereogum||10||The 50 Best Albums of 2013|
|Pitchfork Media||10||Top 50 Albums of 2013|
The album debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 49,000 copies. This marks an increase from their previous album's debut week. The album sold 101,000 copies in Canada in 2013.
In the US, the album also reached number one on the Billboard 200, with 140,000 copies sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It was the third best-selling vinyl album in the US in 2013, selling 31,000 copies.
The album debuted at number one in the UK with sales of 45,252.
Note: On CD and digital releases, "We Exist" is the second track of the album, but the fourth on the vinyl version (as the first song of Side B, or 1:4 ). Disc One of the CD release contains 10 minutes hidden reversed samples of tracks from the disc in the pre-gap before the first track, while a five-minute soundscape follows "Supersymmetry".
|4.||"Here Comes the Night Time"||6:30|
|6.||"You Already Know"||3:59|
|7.||"Joan of Arc"||5:24|
|1.||"Here Comes the Night Time II"||2:51|
|2.||"Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)"||6:13|
|3.||"It's Never Over (Hey Orpheus)"||6:42|
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||3|
|Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)||4|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)||1|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)||2|
|Canadian Albums (Billboard)||1|
|Croatian Foreign Albums (IFPI)||1|
|Danish Albums (Hitlisten)||4|
|Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)||6|
|Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)||8|
|French Albums (SNEP)||3|
|German Albums (Official Top 100)||6|
|Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)||27|
|Irish Albums (IRMA)||1|
|Italian Albums (FIMI)||8|
|New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)||5|
|Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)||3|
|Polish Albums (ZPAV)||19|
|Portuguese Albums (AFP)||1|
|Scottish Albums (OCC)||1|
|Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)||4|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||9|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||4|
|UK Albums (OCC)||1|
|UK Digital Albums (OCC)||1|
|US Billboard 200||1|
|Canada (Music Canada)||3× Platinum||240,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- Monger, James Christopher. "Reflektor - Arcade Fire : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Retrieved October 26, 2013.
- McCormick, Neil (October 24, 2013). "Arcade Fire, Reflektor, album review". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
- Doyle, Patrick. "Win Butler Reveals Secret Influences Behind Arcade Fire's 'Reflektor'". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/9465-the-top-100-albums-of-2010-2014/. Missing or empty
- Phillips, Amy (September 10). "Arcade Fire's Win Butler Offers Reflektor Details". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 15, 2013. Check date values in:
- Battan, Carrie (November 15, 2013). "Spike Jonze Says Arcade Fire's "Supersymmetry" Was Originally Made for His Film Her". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- Dolan, Jon (September 10, 2013). "Arcade Fire – "Reflektor"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
- Claire Suddath; Bloomberg Businessweek (October 15, 2013). "Arcade Fire's Marketing Machine Rolls Out Reflektor". businessweek.com.
- Amy Phillips; Pitchfork Media (August 5, 2013). "Arcade Fire's New Album Titled Reflektor?". pitchfork.com.
- Jenn Pelly; Pitchfork Media (August 26, 2013). "Arcade Fire Confirm Reflektor Campaign Is Theirs". pitchfork.com.
- Wete, Brad (9 September 2013). "Arcade Fire Debuts Funky 'Reflektor' Single With Interactive Video". Billboard. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Dobbins, Amanda (9 September 2013). "Watch The Arcade Fire's 'Reflektor' Video". Vulture. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- iHeartRadio (September 13, 2013). "Arcade Fire frontman responds to graffiti complaint". iheart.com.
- My Wife Was Vandalized by Arcade Fire, Ian Dille, Slate, 12 September 2013
- Reflektor, Year Zero, and a Brief History of the Elaborate Album Rollout, Stephen Deusner, Pitchfork, 21 October 2013
- Aswad, Jem (October 2, 2013). "Arcade Fire's 'Reflektor': 12 Observations About the New Album After One Listen". Spin. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
- "Arcade Fire release snippet of new music on Spotify - listen". NME. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- Ledoux, Julie (9 September 2013). "Arcade Fire à la Salsathèque ce soir" [Arcade Fire at Salsathèque tonight]. Voir (in French). Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- Althea Legaspi; Music Television (September 30, 2013). "Arcade Fire Debuts New 'Reflektor' Songs On 'Saturday Night Live'". mtv.com.
- Forrest Wickman; Slate Magazine (September 29, 2013). "Watch Arcade Fire’s Oddball Post-SNL Concert Special". slate.com.
- Hogan, Marc (October 14, 2013). "Preview Arcade Fire's 'Awful Sound' Ahead of Probable Brooklyn Shows". Spin.
- "Arcade Fire - Reflektor (Full Album Teaser - Official)" on YouTube
- "Reflektor Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- "Reflektor", Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- Petridis, Alexis (24 October 2013). "Arcade Fire: Reflektor - review". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
- Gill, Andy. "Reflektor – Arcade Fire". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
- Randall Roberts (October 29, 2013). "Album review: Arcade Fire blazes ahead on 'Reflektor'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
- "Arcade Fire - Reflektor". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
- Kitty Empire (October 27, 2013). "Arcade Fire: Reflektor - review". The Observer. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
- Zoladz, Lindsay. "Arcade Fire: Reflektor". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
- Annie Galvin (October 28, 2013). "Arcade Fire 'Reflektor' Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
- Edna Gunderson (October 25, 2013). "Review: 'Reflektor' reflects Arcade Fire's bold vision". USA Today. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
- Emily Mackay (October 25, 2013). "Reviews: Arcade Fire - 'Reflektor'". Retrieved October 29, 2013.
- Maçek III, J.C. (30 October 2013). "Arcade Fire: Reflektor". PopMatters.
- Goddard, Simon. "New releases. Arcade Fire - Reflektor". Q, November 2013. P. 101
- Rolling Stone (2 December 2013). "50 Best Albums of 2013; Arcade Fire, "Reflektor"". Jann Wenner. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
- "The 50 Best Albums of 2013: Arcade Fire - Reflektor". Stereogum. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- "Drowned in Sound's Favorite Albums of 2013: Top 20". Drowned in Sound. 9 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
- "Ranking "Wyborczej". Najlepsze zagraniczne płyty 2013 r. [WIDEO]". Gazeta Wyborcza (in Polish). 20 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
- "Arcade Fire, Drake, Shad make Polaris Music Prize short list". CTV News, July 15, 2014.
- Kivel, Adam (13 December 2013). "Top 50 Albums of 2013". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- The Line of Best Fit (16 December 2013). "Best Fit Fifty: Albums of 2013". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
- NME (26 November 2013). "50 Best Records of 2013". NME. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Yuch, Paul. "Arcade Fire Scores Third Chart-Topping Album". Nielsen Music. Dropbox. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
- Bliss, Karen (January 10, 2014). "Canada’s Digital Music Sales Rise in 2013 Unlike the U.S.; Eminem, Robin Thicke Among Top Selling Artists". Billboard. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Keith Caulfield (November 6, 2013). "Arcade Fire's 'Reflektor' Debuts At No. 1 On Billboard 200". Billboard.
- Brian Mansfield (January 3, 2014). "2013 in Music: The biggest hits, the top albums". USA TODAY.
- Jones, Alan (November 4, 2013). "Official Charts Analysis: Arcade Fire LP sells 45k to hit No.1". Music Week. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Discogs. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Australiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire - Reflektor" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor" (in Dutch). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor" (in French). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Canadian Albums Chart for Arcade Fire. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Top Stranih [Top Foreign]" (In Croatian). Top Foreign Albums. Hrvatska Diskografska Udruga. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Danishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire: Reflektor" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ – Magyar Hangfelvétel-kiadók Szövetsége". Mahasz.hu. LightMedia. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
- "GFK Chart-Track". Chart-Track.co.uk. GFK Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Italiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLIS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Portuguesecharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "2013-11-09 Top 40 Scottish Albums Archive | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Spanishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "2013-11-09 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "2013-11-09 Top 40 UK Album Downloads Archive | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Arcade Fire Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Arcade Fire. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Canadian album certifications – Arcade Fire – Reflektor". Music Canada. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
- "British album certifications – Arcade Fire – Reflektor". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Reflektor in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go