Funeral - Arcade Fire
Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Butler sings like Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood used to play, like a lion-tamer whose whip grows shorter with each and every lash. He can barely contain himself, and when he lets loose it's both melodic and primal, like Berlin-era Bowie or British Sea Power.
  2. If I were to have just heard the first half of the disc, I probably would have proclaimed it the best of the year as well.
  3. Strikingly beautiful pop songs. [Nov 2004, p.142]
  4. "Funeral" is a modest debut, but it hints at a band that sounds like its ready to make a statement over the next several years.
  5. 100
    Reveals added nuance with every listen. [Jan/Feb 2005, p.102]
  6. Funeral... is a resounding success on all levels---the group clearly able to make something incredible out of the familiar, and something inexplicably moving out of one emotionally draining year.
  7. One of the most engaging and thrilling pop statements of 2004.
  8. 100
    “Funeral” is the sort of perfectly-realised record you’d hope from a band at the top of their game. For a debut release it’s unmatched in recent years. Hearing it is to wake from a black and white slumber and to view the world in widescreen Technicolour.
  9. Encompassing chamber pop melodies, angular art-rock, lavish orchestration and post-punk vocals, its sheer sonic size and ambition goes some way towards justifying the amount of gushing praise that's been heaped upon this album since its September release on Merge last year. The fact that the music is so paradoxically life-affirming and euphoric makes it much easier to write, what now feel like, trite hyperboles.
  10. Marred by indie-rock clichés and occasional over-effort, it remains frustrating.
  11. 100
    An emotionally wracked masterpiece, drawing on immaculate influences like the Pixies and Talking Heads while sounding distinctly original.
  12. For the most part, Funeral is a lovely, uplifting, and often pleasingly grandiose whirl through a panoply of sounds. [5 Nov 2004, p.81]
  13. Like The Fiery Furnaces' Gallowsbird Park, or Interpol's Turn On The Bright Lights, Funeral is a debut record that simply refuses to be ignored.
  14. 80
    All the components that make the Arcade Fire such a gripping live proposition remain intact on this full-length debut. [Apr 2005, p.96]
  15. For those of us who still believe in music's power to redeem, 'Funeral' feels like detox, the most cathartic album of the year. [5 Mar 2005, p.49]
  16. Not only are the songs uniformly excellent, they also show a mastery of the art of controlled dynamics, of tension and release, that most young bands ignore to pursue the catharsis of sustained intensity.
  17. Musically dynamic and emotionally complex. [#13, p.132]
  18. So long as we're unable or unwilling to fully recognize the healing aspect of embracing honest emotion in popular music, we will always approach the sincerity of an album like Funeral from a clinical distance. Still, that it's so easy to embrace this album's operatic proclamation of love and redemption speaks to the scope of The Arcade Fire's vision.
  19. Funeral is a truly eccentric rock record: bizarre at turns and recognizable elsewhere, equally beautiful and harrowing, theatrical and sincere, defying categorization while attempting to create new genres.
  20. It's so out of step with most indie rock it's as if it's been beamed from outer space. [Apr 2005, p.126]
  21. Funeral aches with elegiac intensity.
  22. In terms of sheer ambition -- and the realization that if you're going to use strings, you might as well go completely over the top with them -- The Arcade Fire is a promising, unapologetically melodramatic sure bet.
  23. Listening to Funeral takes a bit of patience. With most of the songs, the payoff doesn't come right away; in some cases, it sneaks up on you after several spins.
  24. It’s hard to imagine many other bands talented enough to even poorly imitate this.
  25. Funeral's layering of sound and wide-eyed posing can be overly dense, and though the band utilizes nice melodies and lively arrangements, the nostalgia-steeped-indie-rock-orchestra pool was pretty much drained before The Arcade Fire dove in.
  26. One of the year's best already, by a mile.
  27. One of the year's best indie-rock albums. [3 Oct 2004]
  28. One of the best albums of the year, hands down.
  29. An energetic and original statement.... Essential.
  30. 80
    At times their lurid romanticism can be an acquired taste... But there's an ambition and articulacy here. [Mar 2005, p.104]
  31. Funeral is a remarkable record, hard to hear at first, then hard to stop hearing.
  32. And that's how the album goes--too fond of drama, but aware of its small place in the big world, and usually beautiful.
User Score
9.3

Universal acclaim- based on 738 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 6 out of 337
  1. MarkL
    Oct 2, 2005
    10
    One of the best albums of the last decade.
  2. MattC
    Jan 11, 2005
    10
    hands down the best album I've ever heard
  3. WillyP
    Nov 18, 2005
    5
    Imagine if they hired a real singer!