What makes an essential Arcade Fire track? A strong rhythm section, frenzied guitar and strings, contagious amounts of energy, and a menagerie of instruments are a good start. Lyrically, Arcade Fire’s strongest songs are poignant reflections on the past sung by an angst-ridden Win Butler. With a penchant for stirring the mind, Arcade Fire’s music easily rouses visions of chilly Canadian winters, a post-9/11 America, or dull Houston suburbs.
Led by the husband and wife duo of Butler and Régine Chassagne, Arcade Fire has three albums, one extended play, and various B-sides to their name. While the band has a relatively small catalogue to sort through compared to other indie veterans, picking the band’s fifteen essential tracks is still a difficult task. No algorithm could do it justice and at the end a few excellent songs had to be omitted. The underappreciated “(Antichrist Television Blues),” the delicate “Neon Bible,” and the fiery “Month of May” just missed the cut.
It’s significant to note that six out of the ten tracks on the band’s debut album, Funeral, made the list. Even though The Suburbs won them the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2011, Funeral is still the band’s magnum opus.