The music industry’s most loved video gaming pyromaniacs, better known as Arcade Fire, are back. Their new single, an anti-Trump anthem, feels like an attempt to do protest song by rote: the call/response vocals, the repetitive and defiant lyrics, the Mavis Staples feature—it’s all tailor made to be sung by the angry masses.
Sadly, the song lacks soul, perhaps in part because it sounds annoyingly similar to the hook from Kanye’s ‘Gold Digger’—ironic given West’s stance on President Trump. Arcade Fire must know this work is not their best: rumour has it this single does not feature on their next album. Praise be!
I think all good protest songs meet the ever worthwhile advice of Patches O’Houlihan from Dodgeball: “You gotta get angry, you gotta get mean!” Clearly the band hasn’t taken this on board: Win Butler sounds so earnest he’s in danger of becoming Chris Martin.
Look at ‘FDT’, look at ‘Alright’–protest songs succeed when they channel fury with a cause. In Dodgeball, Gordon is so incensed by seeing his estranged wife being seduced by David Hasselhoff , he furiously takes down the opposing team. If only Arcade Fire were able to muster up the same sort of anger on this track.