Thursday, October 1, 2009

17. The Arcade Fire "Intervention" (2007)

I like to think of Arcade Fire as a band that makes overblown anthems for people who are too cool to like U2. The band, at full touring capacity, resembles a small army. Their live shows have been described as a church-like experience, both for the band's vigor and for the fervor of their fans.

From its goosebump-inducing opening organ chord, to the swelling intensity that explodes in the song's climax, "Intervention" is magnificent. My iTunes says I've listened to the song hundreds of times, yet it remains as rousing playing on my speakers now as it did the first time I heard it.

While its lyrics are purposely oblique, the theme of "Intervention" is a condemnation of the Iraq war, or more to be more precise, the quasi-religious motive for intervention:
Working for the church
While your family dies
You take what they give you
And you keep it inside
Every spark of friendship and love
Will die without a home
Hear the soldier groan, "We'll go at it alone"

I can taste the fear
Gonna lift me up and take me out of here
Don't wanna fight, don't wanna die
Just wanna hear you cry

Who's gonna throw the very first stone?
Oh! Who's gonna reset the bone?
Walking with your head in a sling
Wanna hear the soldier sing
Many bands wrote songs about Iraq, but their songs were focused on scorn for George Bush. "Intervention," instead, presents the war as an operatic tragedy.

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