Pop will eat itself. This is never more true than in 2015, where modern pop music has nothing new to say whatsoever – constantly regurgitating the forms and styles (but not the soul) of the past.
In some ways, Canadian art-rock band Arcade Fire is a relic of that past. In a pop music industry dominated by rappers, teen idols & boy bands masquerading as guitar rockers, Arcade Fire appears to come from a beloved more creative age.
The Reflektor Tapes – directed by filmmaker Kahlil Joseph – is neither a making of/behind the scenes doc nor a concert movie nor an art film but a weird combination and this is the problem. There is no narrative thread running through the movie and it is very easy to lose interest in what is happening on screen. In fact, halfway through I had to fight the onset of sleepiness!
So what is The Reflektor Tapes really about? Well, the title really says it all – Arcade Fire’s journey in creating and touring the Reflektor album. That’s about it!
There were moments I felt the strong temptation to sneer at some of the pretentious moments – like the appropriation of Haitian music into their music making (how Paul Simon of you!) – but as AF member Régine Chassagne actually has Haitian ancestry, we can chalk it all down to self-discovery rather than opportunistic culture-stealing, eh?
That all said, I suppose one could say that at least Arcade Fire still possessed the rock ’n’ roll spirit to do something like The Reflektor Tapes (this reminded me a lot of Led Zep’s The Song Remains the Same, for some reason) and in that sense, Arcade Fire is a relic (as alluded to before).
So let’s just say whilst the intent is admirable, the execution was rather abysmal. But if you are a rabid fan and have resigned yourself to the fact that Arcade Fire will never play in Singapore, then this is the next best thing.