Arcade Fire Returns With Its First New Music in 5 Years

The rock band Arcade Fire has returned with its first music in five years: a raucous six-minute single entitled “The Lightning I,II.” The single is the first release from the band’s upcoming sixth album: WeAvailable May 6

Arcade Fire is one of the best-loved rock groups over the past two decades. They produce stadium-scale and guitar-centric singalongs during an age when rock’s influence has declined. “The Lightning, I, II” is no different: it’s lifted by soaring piano melodies, thundering tom-tom drums, and lyrics emphasizing perseverance in the face of struggle. “Thought we reached the mountaintop / and now we just feel so low,” lead singer Win Butler despairs in the song’s second line, before adding later, “We can make it if you don’t quit on me / I won’t quit on you.” (The band infamously snagged Album of the Year at the 2011 Grammys, beating out Lady Gaga and Eminem in a surprise win.)

Arcade Fire premiered the song earlier in this week live at a New Orleans benefit concert. The song’s music video was directed by Emily Kai Bock, who co-directed Grimes’ canonical “Oblivion” music video a decade ago. In this new video, the band’s performance of the song becomes derailed by heavy winds; a tornado emerges in the distance, bearing down upon them. The storm passes and the band returns to their stage, picking up pieces of their instruments, throwing an event amid the debris.

A press release was also released by the band stating that the group is currently in the midst of recording sessions for their forthcoming album. We It began just before the outbreak of the pandemic in February 2020. “Its first side, ‘I,’ is about our troubles; its second side, ‘WE,’ is about our love for one another,” the press release states. We,A dystopian sci fi novel written by Yevgeny Zmyatin in Russia was partially inspired.

The album was produced by Butler, his bandmate (and spouse) Régine Chassagne, and Nigel Godrich, a producer known for his work with Radiohead and Paul McCartney. The album features Peter Gabriel singing; JR, a photographer and frequent collaborator at TIME, created the cover.


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