Funeral is very much alive. Though the sentiment has become a bit of a cliche, it’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the release of Arcade Fire’s Funeral. The album showed up fully formed and with an immediate impact, a powerful expression of emotion and grandiosity in the face of the post-punk and garage rock scene. However, it also rang with the power and dark echoes of the past and continues to resonate in that same vital way.
Part of that could be due to the fact that death looms large over Funeral, a perpetually impactful and present life experience. Regine Chassagne and Win and Will Butler lost grandparents in the process of recording the album, and an aunt of Richard Reed Parry’s passed as well. The pains of an entire neighborhood, a family, a country, and the world all ring out throughout the album’s 10 tracks.
But there was (and is) more to Funeral than darkness. The uplifting orchestration, the feeling of community, and the massively memorable sing-along choruses all work together to combat it. Arcade Fire would go on to win a Grammy, collaborate with music legends, tour stadiums, and have an incredible impact for an “indie” band. But in 2004, Funeral already had this transformative power. It was an honest, emotional album that wasn’t quite emo; an elaborate, detailed album with a deceptively simple, direct punch; an album defined by death yet still able to find life on the other side. And, 10 years later, it’s still all of those things despite its legendary status, an album as fresh as the day it was released. To commemorate this anniversary, we took a look at a key lyric from each of the album’s tracks, in order to analyze the way in which it continues to hold that enchanting power.