Reflektor (song)

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Single by The Reflektors
from the album Reflektor
B-side "Reflektor" (instrumental)
Released September 9, 2013 (2013-09-09)
Format 12" vinyl, digital download
Recorded Sonovox Studios, Montreal
Genre Indie rock, dance-rock[1]
Length 7:34 (album version)
5:20 (radio edit)
Label Merge
Producer(s) James Murphy, Markus Dravs, Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire chronology
"Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)"

"Reflektor" is a song by Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire. It was released on September 9, 2013, as the first single from the band's fourth studio album, Reflektor.

Produced by James Murphy, Markus Dravs and the band itself, the song features a guest vocal appearance by David Bowie and was released on a limited edition 12" vinyl credited to the fictional band, The Reflektors.

The song came second in NME's list of best singles of 2013, with only Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" finishing above it.

Background and recording[edit]

The band began working on the track in 2011, with vocalist and guitarist Win Butler noting, "We recorded a little bit in Louisiana with the Haitian percussionists [Willinson Duprate and Verrieux Zile] and we kind of lived with that. It's an incredibly long process."[2]

The track also features contributions from regular Arcade Fire collaborators, Owen Pallett and Colin Stetson, alongside legendary English musician David Bowie. Regarding Bowie's guest appearance on the track, multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry noted, "It was just after The Next Day had come out. He basically just came by the studio in New York while we were mixing, just to have a listen to the stuff we were doing. He offered to lend us his services because he really liked the song. In fact, he basically threatened us – he was like, 'If you don't hurry up and mix this song, I might just steal it from you!' So we thought, well why don't we go one better, why don't you sing on our version? Thankfully he obliged, and we were really happy about that."[3] The very beginning of the song samples the band's first single and first song off of Funeral (album), Neighborhood 1 (Tunnels)

Writing and composition[edit]

The track's lyrical content is, in part, influenced by the differences between Haitian life and that of the Western world, with vocalist and guitarist Win Butler noting, "I think that life [in Haiti] is incredibly difficult and it's more amazing to see people that don't have access to food or clean water throw a party. It's not like I'm trying to sing about their experiences. I was more learning from what I saw and applying it to my own life, lyrically. I'm not trying to tell other people's stories. We're just trying to allow an experience to change you."[2] Some have interpreted the song about the dangers of the internet.



The single's cover artwork makes no mention of the band's name, and is instead credited to the fictional band, The Reflektors. The front cover features a silhouette image band's current core members - Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, Will Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara.

The album's back cover features a woman touching one of the band's Haitian veve images, used previously in a guerrilla marketing to promote Reflektor's forthcoming release.

Fictional track listing[edit]

The remainder of the 12" vinyl's artwork suggests that it is a full-length album by The Reflektors. A fictional album track listing, inspired by the song's lyrical content, is featured on its back cover.

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was also released on September 9, 2013.[4] It was directed by Anton Corbijn.

Critical response[edit]

The song received acclaim from critics. Rolling Stone praised it, saying "Arcade Fire are the most important band of the last decade, and the music lives up to their universe-affirming mandate. "Reflektor" turns a shared sense of isolation into communion with a sleek, surging track that seamlessly integrates arty rock and diagonal funk, breaking down [Arcade Fire]'s epic sound without scrimping on its essential cathartic thrust." [5] American Songwriter also praised the song saying "All seven-plus minutes of the song feel absolutely vital, even if the arrangement suggests something more hedonistic. It's a neat trick they pulled there."[6]



Chart (2013) Peak
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[7] 20
Canada Rock (Billboard)[8] 8
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 20
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[10] 42
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[11] 44
US Billboard Hot 100[12] 99
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[13] 17
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[14] 14


  1. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (September 9, 2013). "Arcade Fire - Reflektor". Paste. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Doyle, Patrick Doyle (October 22, 2013). "Win Butler Reveals Secret Influences Behind Arcade Fire's 'Reflektor'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ "David Bowie 'threatened to steal' 'Reflektor' from Arcade Fire". NME. September 18, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  4. ^ Hasty, Katie. "Arcade Fire's new single 'Reflektor' in full: Watch two music videos". HitFix. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  5. ^ Dolan, Jon. "Jon Dolan's Four-and-a-Half Star Review of Reflektor". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ Terich, Jeff. "Arcade Fire, David Bowie Triumph On "Reflektor"". American Songwriter. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Arcade Fire Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Arcade Fire. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  8. ^ "Arcade Fire Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Canada Rock for Arcade Fire. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  9. ^ "Chart Track". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  10. ^ " – Arcade Fire – Reflektor" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  11. ^ "Arcade Fire" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  12. ^ "Arcade Fire Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Arcade Fire. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  13. ^ "Arcade Fire Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Songs for Arcade Fire. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  14. ^ "Arcade Fire Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Rock Songs for Arcade Fire. Retrieved July 12, 2014.