Arcade Fire member Will Butler has announced that he’ll be releasing a new solo record called Generations on September 25 through Merge. It’s his first in five years, during which time he has been active with his main band and has graduated from Harvard with a master’s in Public Policy. He’s still found time to put together some music though, and lead single “Surrender” goes to show that he’s still sharp as ever. About the song, he says:
“’Surrender’ is masquerading as a love song, but it’s more about friendship. About the confusion that comes as people change—didn’t you use to have a different ideal? Didn’t we have the same ideal at some point? Which of us changed? How did the world change? Relationships that we sometimes wish we could let go of, but that are stuck within us forever.
“It’s also about trying to break from the first-person view of the world. “What can I do? What difference can I make?” It’s not about some singular effort—you have to give yourself over to another power. Give over to people who have gone before who’ve already built something—you don’t have to build something new! The world doesn’t always need a new idea, it doesn’t always need a new personality. What can you do with whatever power and money you’ve got? Surrender it over to something that’s already made. And then the song ends with an apology—I’m sorry I’ve been talking all night. Cause talking like that, man, not always useful.”
It may only be “masquerading as a love song”, but “Surrender” is a damn delight despite its more conflicted inspiration. Bouncing and full of gang vocals like some of your favourite Arcade Fire songs, “Surrender” is a sly piece of writing that manages to capture life’s transience and the fool it consistently makes out of you when things change that you naively thought would stay the same forever. Nevertheless, it’s still a high-energy barn dance that seems to continue picking up momentum from start to finish, and works as a reminder that sometimes just giving yourself to rhythm is the way to forget your woes – “come on surrender to something / the world’s bigger than we are.”