Oh, you know: it’s the one that builds and rises, shimmers and ripples, collapses to the ground and shatters into a thousand stars. It’s the one that the BBC have latched onto like a leech on exposed explorer flesh, only their use of Wake Up hasn’t angered Arcade Fire followers in the vein of Brian Eno fans incensed by Orange’s use of ‘Music For Airports 1’. If anything, admirers of the Canadian success story have simply smiled to themselves, knowing that the song, and the band, is too great a beast to keep caged.
‘Wake Up’ should end this chapter of Arcade Fire’s existence, slamming the now dusty back cover down upon the body of Funeral, the record that’s somewhat unexpectedly propelled the outfit to the brink of genuine super stardom. Few bands this year have deserved such commercial success and critical acclaim; wriggle all you wish into dank indier-than-thou corners, rooting through the rear racks of Rough Trade overlooking the beautiful banquet before thee, but you have to concede that Arcade Fire’s year has been phenomenal for the right reasons. They made a great record, performed brilliantly when a million critics were ready to pan them if they so much as squeaked out of synch, and were the only band of the past twelve months to live up to the disproportionate hype about their frail bodies. They have earned their acclaim in the best possible way, and ‘Wake Up’ is a parting gift to those latecomers at the back; come on in, ladies and gents, the fire is warm and the conversation is compelling.
If the world of music and beyond were truly just, this would be Christmas number one, leaving all acts of novelty in its epic wake. Its grandeur alone sets it apart as one of the year’s greatest singles, and its emotive qualities, all wrapped up in the kind of silky-yet-strained production that's become prevalent in similar askew-indie oddities, are likely to shine down upon all for some years to come. Besides, if it’s good enough for broadcast between Watchdog and EastEnders, then it’s good enough for us.
9Mike Diver's Score