For the first time in the band’s existence, Arcade Fire needs to prove themselves. After a legendary run of four albums that began with their venerated debut Funeral, the band faltered on their most recent album. 2017’s Everything Now saw the band pivot towards an electronic sound, but despite the production efforts of house music legend Thomas Bangalter, it lacked Arcade Fire’s identity, leaving the band in an uncertain place in the years since its release.
“The Lightning,” a two-part single from the band’s upcoming album WE, sees Arcade Fire return to their distinctive sound. The first half of the song does feature electronics, but they serve as textural elements rather than the main focus, in a manner that’s authentic to their original sound. Even though the first part is slow, it’s full of energy and sets up the second part perfectly, which is a much faster rock song that’s similar to the band’s early material but still sounds fresh.
Between its uplifting lyrics and building intensity, “The Lightning” is a celebration, a callback to the glory days of Arcade Fire. At the same time, the single feels like the foundation of a new beginning for the band. It won’t be easy for the band to live up to the high expectations they’ve earned, but Arcade Fire has accepted that challenge and embraced their current identity.
Daily Arts Writer Jack Moeser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.