More on Arcade Fire’s “Neon Bible”

Another arresting quote from the lead singer of Arcade Fire:

“Central to the album,” Win Butler says, “is this idea that Christianity and consumerism are completely compatible, which I think is the great insanity of our times.’”

- Chicago Tribune, Section 7, p14, March 4, 2007

Thanks to Thom for catching that!

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.

  • http://www.adamwalter.blogspot.com/ awalter

    Fay Grim… I rate this one a bit higher than you do. After all, when was there a Hartley film that wasn’t “too talky” for some people? His dynamic has always been highly theatrical. And, actually, there are segments in the second half where the dialogue drops off a good deal. Also, Hartley’s people, in any film, are forever explaining things to each other–their past, their own characters, their plans for the future. It just so happens that here they are reinterpreting something that happened many years before, and they don’t simply rehash the plot to bring us up to speed–they’re doing what people really do: they interpret their stories aloud for clear psychological reasons. And the film’s ending makes much more sense when you realize Hartley means to do at least one more film with these characters.

    Waitress… And I rate this lower than you do. I think the film has a lot of great stuff, but it just isn’t very well rounded. And there’s the whole “affair” segment where 2 couples in the film are cheating on their spouses. Shelly seems to expect that we’ll be all caught up in the romance between Jenna and the doctor, but she’s such a cold character… and they’re obviously having a merely sexual relationship with no plans for the future. Sadly, the film also seemed to have the attitude that, well, affairs are okay if that’s just where you happen to be at that time in your life. Something tells me that it isn’t just Christian audiences who will find this attitude unsettling.

  • scandalon

    Can you comment on how the movie handled their adultery?

  • i4detail

    Loved Henry Fool, though as you say, it is a challenging movie to sit through. Not sure your comments make me want to rush out and see this one, though….

  • Mijk V

    I think I read somewhere that Win was in Montreal to study hermeneutics at McGill when the whole Arcade Fire thing started. McGill is our most liberal seminary here in Canada, so I can understand why Win sounds like a Christian who’s had his faith shaken.

  • sg

    Honestly I don’t know. I just think that he took those perspectives (church-goer/exploitive religious father/etc.) because he’s an artist assuming a role. I don’t think that means he’s being fake or insincere about it, just I don’t necessarily believe that his religious role-playing as songwriting exercise equates to him being a Christian.

    I think we (you and I) may sense more of these religious images because WE believe. (Of course, I’m assuming that you are a believer here, so forgive me if I’m wrong).

    I definitely sense the spiritual longing in all the Arcade Fire’s music. I also sense this spiritual longing in much of Radiohead’s music, and I’ve seen no indication that Thom is a believer. Again, not that he isn’t, but I’m sure somewhere he’s commented on that.

    I still look forward to getting this new CD. Funeral was the most amazing album. I truly find myself lost in it. That longing to drive around the block one more time to finish the song…I love that.

  • Joel

    Out of curiosity, sg, are you sure that Win is an agnostic? After listening to Neon Bible a lot in the last couple days, I keep finding myself being surprised at the subtle spiritual nuances and ideas in the lyrics. Win takes the perspective of a church-goer/exploitive religious father/trapped spirit/etc., and through each character he reveals emotions and thoughts that are so profoundly Christian, that it would be hard to grasp them were he not.

  • sg

    For anyone who cares, here’s a link to an entire live show by The Arcade Fire when they were first touring on Funeral. It’s pretty good and gives a sense of the energy they put out.

    Brad’s Nac

  • sg

    Hmmm…I think Win is my favorite agnostic-on-the-way-to-becoming-a-believer musician ever.

    Prosperity teaching.

    I was just reading an interesting verse that I’d never noticed before in James (NLV) “Christians who are poor should be glad, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should be glad, for God has humbled them.” James 1:9-10

    I guess as an American I should generally be humbled.


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