I’m about to swallow huge lumps of humble pie. When Arcade Fire first appeared on import in my local music emporium I was curious enough to listen to a couple of tracks but they really didn’t do anything for me. I tried again when the hype started building in the UK, but still something wasn’t right. However, I’m beginning to suspect that they have suffered from hype disease. My inital listen – to one or two songs – was indecisive and then subsequent hype sent me scuttling in the other direction. Since the album has been reduced and also widely lauded by people whose opinions I actually respect, I’ve found myself finding it increasingly tough to hold out. So, a copy of ‘Funeral’ is on its way in the post right now. I’ll comment on this re-evaluation as and when it happens.
This raises the interesting question (well, to me) of how much hype actually affects the way we approach music. I remember, during the nineties, loving the nature of hype in the NME. Witty, extravagant and frequently way off the mark, it caused some great purchases. These days, hype seems so much more direct, and yet I imagine that’s more down to the cynicism of getting older and outgrowing the hype-loving publications. That said, I steered well clear of Bloc Party for a while thanks to the NME, not to mention Ryan Adams‘ hero-worship from Uncut. It turned out both have much to recommend them, but for some time I was put off in a way that isn’t hugely helpful to someone obsessed with music. Perhaps, this time I’ll learn my lesson and avoid psychological snobbery.
Can’t see it happening, mind.