October 25, 2013


Listen to Arcade Fire's 'Reflektor' With Our By-the-Numbers Guide

Following an early leak of their fourth album Reflektor, Arcade Fire tweeted out a YouTube video of the entire album (listen to it above!) paired with footage from the 1959 French-Brazilian film Black Orpheus, which frontman Win Butler said was a big inspiration for the double-disc record.

From the mutant disco of "Reflektor" to the gentle finale "Afterlife," this is a remarkably diverse album, both musically and culturally. So while you delve into Reflektor, here's our by-the-numbers breakdown of Arcade Fire's latest to help you get the most out of the album.

Songs With Religious References: 4

"Reflektor" and "Here Comes the Night Time" speak dismissively of heaven, "Flashbulb Eyes" is about cameras stealing souls and "Afterlife" obviously mentions the afterlife. "We Exist" addresses people "praying that we don't exist" and also references Judas betraying Jesus with the line, "Not the first betrayed by a kiss."

Number of Songs You Can Shake Your Ass To: 4

"Reflketor," "Here Comes the Night Time," "It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)" and "Afterlife" all have hip-swinging rhythms we assume producer James Murphy played a strong role in perfecting. 

Greek Mythological Figures Referenced: 2

In Greek mythology, Orpheus was a peerless musician whose wife, Eurydice, died on their wedding day. He used his unmatched musical abilities to charm his way into the underworld in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to bring her back to life. Reflektor's cover (inset below) features a sculpture done by Auguste Rodin—a French artist considered the father of modern sculpture—in 1893 about the tragic husband and wife.

Straightforward Rockers: 2.5

Obviously the whole album is "rock," but two songs (and half of another) stand out as textbook rock n' roll. "You Already Know" is a jangly, propulsive number, "Normal Person" is a roughly-mixed rocker and "Joan of Arc" has a punky start before turning into a relatively familiar indie joint.

Songs about Fickle Fans: 2

"We Exist" seems to be about experiencing intense scrutiny from AF fans, while "Afterlife" looks forward to when "all the hangers-on are done hanging on."

Theoretical Physics References: 1

"Supersymmetry" is a shout-out to supersymmetry, a theory proposed by some physicists that every boson (a subatomic particle) has a corresponding fermion (such as an electron, proton or neutron) of the same mass. There is only indirect evidence that this is true. (Yes, we had to look this up.)

Songs Featuring David Bowie: 1

Bowie sings the deep-voiced, "It's just a reflector," backing vocal on the end bridge of "Reflektor."

Songs Partially Sung in French: 3

"Joan of Arc," "Reflektor," "It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)"

Songs Prominently Featuring Regine Chassagne's Voice: 4

"Joan of Arc," "Reflektor," "Normal Person" and "It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)" have Regine singing more than just backup vocals.

Songs Longer Than 5 Minutes: 9

Nine of the 13 album tracks go past the five-minute mark, with album closer "Supersymmetry" clocking in at 11:16.

Total Length: 1 hour, 25 minutes, 16 seconds

For more on the creative process behind Reflektor, check out our complete guide to the album right here.