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Music / Funeral

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The power's out in the heart of man, take it from your heart, put it in your hand...

"...And if the snow
Buries my, my neighborhood.
And if my parents are crying,
Then I'll dig a tunnel,
From my window to yours."
Arcade Fire, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)"

Funeral is the debut album by Canadian indie band Arcade Fire, released in 2004 through Merge Records. Self-produced (the album was mostly recorded by the band themselves in Creator Couple Win Butler and Régine Chassagne's apartment) and partially inspired by the recent deaths of various family members of the band, the album is noted for its' epic, grandoise sound, emotionally blunt lyrical content and diverse use of instrumentation in spite of its' modest, indie label budget.

A Sleeper Hit upon its original release (thanks to its' endorsement by Pitchfork Media, who rated it a 9.7), Funeral has gone on to receive enormous acclaim worldwide, particularly in Europe, and has been championed as one of the best and most influential albums of the 2000snote , and is currently ranked at #27 on Acclaimed Music's compilation of critics' top albums lists.



  1. "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)"
  2. "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)"
  3. "Une année sans lumière"
  4. "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)"
  5. "Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)"
  6. "Crown of Love"
  7. "Wake Up"
  8. "Haiti"
  9. "Rebellion (Lies)"
  10. "In the Backseat"

We're just a million little tropes causin' rainstorms, turnin' every good thing to rust:

  • Bilingual Bonus: The French lyrics on "Une année sans lumière" and "Haiti". Since they formed in Quebec, and Régine hails from (and sings about) Haiti, it would probably be unwise to call it gratuitous.
  • Concept Album: A rather loose example, as most of the songs deal with family and community, the pains of getting older and the loss of loved ones, though the "Neighborhood" suite which makes up the first half of the record seems to concern a town being affected by a blackout in the middle of winter, based on Régine Chassagne's own experiences of the North American ice storm in January 1998.
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  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Alluded to briefly in "Crown of Love".
  • Eye Scream: "Crown of Love" has a line about the narrator carving the name of the girl he loves across his eyelids. It's metaphorical, but it's still a gruesome image and adds to the bleak tone of the song.
  • Fading into the Next Song: "Haiti" into "Rebellion (Lies)".
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Despite the often morbid subject matter, most of the music on Funeral is surprisingly upbeat and celebratory.
  • Grief Song: "Haiti" and "In the Backseat", where Régine mourns the loss of her family heritage to war and her grandmother respectively.
  • Growing Up Sucks: This topic is brought up a lot throughout the album, particularly on "Wake Up":
    If children don't grow up,
    Our bodies get bigger,
    But our hearts get torn up
    • "In the Backseat", Régine fearfully sings that she prefers watching the scenery from the backseat of a car, associating the driver's seat with growing old and eventually dying. When she gets to the final line, "I've been learning to drive my whole life," she realizes just what she is saying and begins wailing.
  • Snow Means Death: "Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)": "Kids are dying out in the snow/Look at 'em go, look at 'em go!"
    • It's worth nothing that the song was inspired by Régine Chassagne's experience in Montreal during the North American ice storm of 1998, which knocked out power in the city for over a week and led to several deaths.
    • Snow Means Love: "Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)": "And if the snow/buries my, my neighbourhood/and if my parents are crying/then I'll dig a tunnel from my window to yours."
  • Spiritual Successor: A lot of people consider Funeral as one to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel. Win Butler even cited in the interviews the album was one of the reasons they signed to Merge.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Rebellion (Lies)".

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