Neon Bible

  • Record Label: Merge
  • Release Date: Mar 6, 2007

Universal acclaim - based on 46 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
  1. It's as decadent as it is tasty -- theatricality has never been a practice that the collective has shied away from -- but there's no denying the Arcade Fire's singular vision, even when it blurs a little.
  2. Despite a somewhat stifled mix, and the fact that Butler’s romanticism has been replaced by moments of bitterness, and in some instances petulance, what makes the new CD a worthy successor is what made us fall for this band in the first place: the music’s unflagging passion.
  3. Although they've expanded their sound, the Arcade Fire's transition into extroversion isn't always smooth or graceful. Neon Bible is full of clunky lyrics, revealing Butler's tendency to overstate and sensationalize.
  4. Q Magazine
    A magical kingdom of noise that's equal parts Disney's Fantasia and Echo & The Bunnymen's lavish Ocean Rain. [Apr 2007, p.107]
  5. Mojo
    Here lies much of the album's magic: whatever ornate turns the music takes, at its heart is the primal stuff of great rock'n'roll. But God, is it big. [Apr 2007, p.94]
  6. Like almost everything on Neon Bible... "No Cars Go" is excess with a point: We are drowning in the unspeakable and running out of air and fight. If only everything else on Neon Bible made that point with the same dynamic overkill.
  7. A record with the bleak-yet-redemptive spirit of REM's 'Automatic For The People' and the musical magnificence of a 'Deserter's Songs'. But also a record that - as much as 'London Calling' or 'What's Going On' - holds a deep, dark, truthful Black Mirror up to our turbulent times.
  8. Under The Radar
    Although Funeral is the better album, Neon Bible comes close enough without being a rehash. [#17, p.90]
  9. You could make a fair case for it not even being as good as Funeral – but my oh my, it's close.
  10. Perhaps the true beauty of Neon Bible is its imperfection.
  11. Through Neon Bible, the band is seemingly sending a beacon to other reasonable people forced underground by the world's insanity. It's almost like a musical version of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
  12. It's hard to think of another album that rocks in such an epic manner without sounding completely ridiculous.
  13. Spin
    Neither a timid repeat nor a knee-jerk departure, the bigger, bolder Neon Bible better captures what Arcade Fire achieve live. [Mar 2007, p.85]
  14. In the bleakest songs, the polyphonic swirl of strings, horns, and voices... points toward transcendence.
  15. Alternative Press
    While devotees of Funeral... will surely enjoy Neon Bible, the album does have a decidedly different feel than its predecessor--mainly, there seems to be less of an emphasis on choruses. [Apr 2007, p.182]
  16. Paste Magazine
    It's a hard, emotional record--certainly a good one.... But, in truth, after the lavish escapism of Funeral, Neon Bible does feel like a less stratospheric accomplishment. [Mar 2007, p.60]
  17. The songs are allowed to crack a few knuckles and stretch their legs before they do any heavy lifting, and you’ll find yourself appreciating their roots more as a result.
  18. The music of Neon Bible is rarely anything less than uplifting. What the songs fail to do, though, is provide any real payoff to all of that uplift and passion.
  19. Neon Bible is so successful because it showcases big ambition without ignoring the small things.
  20. Some Funeral devotees may be disappointed by the more straightforward approach on Neon Bible, but their numbers will likely be easily replaced.
  21. Not quite of this world and not quite over the edge, these earthy, epic songs aren't meant to save us, only to supply some monumental crescendos and a wide-screen view on the way down.
  22. Magnet
    As is the risk with such serious-minded albums, a few songs err on the side of heavy-handedness... but Arcade Fire's raw passion and heartfelt ambition remain intact. [#75, p.90]
  23. The music is beautiful, spiritual, intense, fun and, as Lester Bangs once called the Clash, righteous.
  24. Blender
    You can only discover fire once, though, so instead of a revolutionary blueprint, Neon Bible makes a triumphant clamor that's nearly as cathartic. [Apr 2007, p.109]
  25. Filter
    Truly, there isn't anything here that comes close to achieving the anthemic, stomp-along, bombast of Funeral's best works. But this is a different album, and a different Arcade Fire playing to their biggest strength: emoting. [#24, p.88]
  26. A considerably more gothic affair than Funeral, a set that sometimes screams “overcompensation!”
  27. Arcade Fire mines classic U2 and Bruce Springsteen far better than the Killers recently did. And Arcade Fire didn’t lose its own voice in an attempt to sound bigger and grander. [5 Mar 2007]
  28. Billboard
    Bombast occasionally gets the better of the songwriting, but that's a small complaint on an album that gets nearly everything just right. [10 Mar 2007]
  29. Arcade Fire's Neon Bible stares down the sophomore jinx with a pissed-off preacher's penetrating gaze.
  30. If "Neon Bible" doesn't quite dazzle as "Funeral" did, that's more a measure of the latter album's benchmark brilliance, rather than the inferiority of the former.
  31. While they’ve enlarged their presence on record, they’ve also peopled their songs with themes and accusations more resonant than Funeral’s mournfulness.
  32. It's about as good as Funeral and features some truly wonderful songs; although The Arcade Fire have certainly progressed, Neon Bible features everything that made them special in the first place, to even more epic proportions.
  33. It's an excellent album. It might be the best album released this year. And it proves that Funeral was not a fluke.
  34. There are growing pains here, there's doubt and sadness and confusion. And there's fear.
  35. Neon Bible may be a bold departure from the beloved Funeral, but the divergence is as inspired as the music itself.
  36. The Canadian septet are the greatest art rock group since Talking Heads stopped making sense.
  37. These 11 songs comprise an ambitious song cycle, and the songwriting on "Neon Bible" is stronger and more focused than it was on "Funeral."
  38. So, Funeral was by no means a fluke. The Arcade Fire are unquestionably the real deal. And to prove it they’ve now thrown in another contender for ‘best record of the decade’.
  39. In the end, underneath the strings and the percussion and the guitars, that is what The Arcade Fire has been about: making us want to do. That the band again achieves that goal, after changing its scope and refocusing tis sound, makes Neon Bible a success.
  40. For the most part, it's the sophomore release without the stumble.
  41. They thud rather than thunder. But what a loud and joyous thud it is.
  42. A rewarding, resonant album, Neon Bible ranks among the best indie rock recordings of all time.
  43. There are missteps... and the production is sometimes frustratingly muddy, but Neon Bible very nearly delivers on impossible expectations.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 834 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 336
  1. Dec 10, 2012
    A truly spectacular Album, as are all three albums so far. Their best? Well to rate Arcade fir Albums against each other is not a matter ofA truly spectacular Album, as are all three albums so far. Their best? Well to rate Arcade fir Albums against each other is not a matter of which is better, but simply personal opinion. This though is my favourite of the three. Awesome songs include - All of them, lol. My truly stand out songs are Keep the car running, Intervention and No cars go.
    Oh and one more, My body is a cage makes me weep every time. Enough said, Arcade fire are geniuses.
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 7, 2011
    For a kid who grew up in a conservative evangelical home, this record speaks right to me. Heartbreaking and brilliant from the first track toFor a kid who grew up in a conservative evangelical home, this record speaks right to me. Heartbreaking and brilliant from the first track to the last. It's extremely difficult to rate an Arcade Fire over another, but this one definitely stands out. Full Review »
  3. Nov 5, 2013
    Powerful album for powerful people. But, really, Neon Bible is a worthy sequel to Funeral. Pulling from many of the same angst filled areas asPowerful album for powerful people. But, really, Neon Bible is a worthy sequel to Funeral. Pulling from many of the same angst filled areas as Funeral, it manages to craft an interesting and novel dialogue between the listener and the band. Engaging and well worth the time spent listening.

    Full Review »