Reflektor - Arcade Fire
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 48 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 48
  2. Negative: 0 out of 48
  1. Dec 18, 2013
    90
    The double-disc, dual volume album that results is one that finds the Canadian seven-piece sounding liberated, from stylistic and budgetary constraints both. [No. 105, p.52]
  2. Dec 16, 2013
    80
    As it stands, Reflektor is Arcade Fire’s most diverse and sonically interesting work to date.
  3. Nov 21, 2013
    67
    As a whole, there are throwaway tracks ("Porno") and overstayed welcomes (ambiguous anthem "We Exist"), Butler playing roulette with themes: the pains of indie rock ("Normal Person"), star-crossed Greek mythology ("Awful Sound [Oh Eurydice]," "It's Never Over [Oh Orpheus]"), and existential despair ("Afterlife").
  4. Nov 19, 2013
    70
    This timid spike ['Afterlife'] in urgency is short-lived, swallowed whole by closer ‘Supersymmetry’ and its 11 genteel minutes of caressing synth-loops and mental nothingness, completing perfectly what is an utterly tangential statement.
  5. 90
    There’s no lack of stride here, in fact the entire scope of Reflektor and its magnificent way of sucking you into its entire ride is downright remarkable.
  6. Nov 14, 2013
    70
    It’s an interesting, intermittently excellent album from a skilled group that could still use a little help in getting out of their own way.
  7. 70
    Arcade Fire managed to satisfy divergent interests. Disc one is the hits. Disc two is the weird stuff.
  8. Nov 7, 2013
    70
    Reflektor hits too many high points to entirely consider it a failure, and despite its convoluted lyrical content and overreaching scope it still crosses the double album finish line with satisfactory results.
  9. Oct 31, 2013
    80
    It’s not a perfect record, but nothing this ambitious was ever going to be.
  10. Oct 31, 2013
    90
    The band certainly hasn't left rock behind, but they've found a way to push beyond a sense of exhaustion with the resources that the genre has to offer, while at the same time reflecting on the tenuousness of interpersonal connection in an age of hyper-evolving technology.
  11. Oct 31, 2013
    60
    Reflektor doesn’t contain any actually bad songs (the closest we can peg on the collection would be a small amount of filler material), but the impact of a full listen is one of catchy excitement and impressive pop rock which slowly rolls downhill into the murky sonic depths of the more somber second half without any truly punctuating final moment of the record itself.
  12. Oct 30, 2013
    95
    There is so, so much content, so beautifully and flawlessly presented that it can be baffling at times. The Suburbs, to many, was decade-defining music. Reflektor, I feel, through both content and design, will be artist-defining.
  13. Oct 30, 2013
    65
    It's wildly uneven, and contains more flat-out bellyflops than any of the band's previous works; it's also endlessly fascinating. Far from perfect, it's worthy of heavy exploration.
  14. Oct 29, 2013
    100
    While the first disc winds its way sporadically through the humid alleys and hazy bars of a multi-dimensional shantytown, the second half explodes outward upon the magnificent vista of symphonic discotheque.
  15. Oct 29, 2013
    72
    Reflektor is very well an intellectual triumph, but--in a first for this band--it’s almost never an emotional one.
  16. Oct 29, 2013
    100
    Genre jumping aside, it's the patterns as much as the riffs that are beguiling here.
  17. Oct 29, 2013
    75
    Listen closely enough to Reflektor--and give it the patience that clearly went into its recording--and that old Arcade Fire burns. It’s just a different kind of flame.
  18. Oct 28, 2013
    80
    Some of the tracks go on longer than necessary, but it’s an excess of generosity.
  19. Oct 28, 2013
    90
    Reflektor goes after this eternal, existential tension in masterful strokes and is a significant musical contribution by Arcade Fire, who continue to find ways to tap into universal expressions while making music that's refreshingly topical, infectious and completely their own.
  20. Oct 28, 2013
    50
    It is the Montreal rockers’ most hit-or-miss effort, at once arresting for its audacity and kaleidoscopic swirl of influences but often exhausting with songs that buckle under their own weight.
  21. 80
    Reflektor is cleaner, sharper and dancier than anything the band have done before.
  22. Oct 28, 2013
    80
    There are enough interesting motifs and musical adventuring on Reflektor that the negatives seem inconsequential on the whole.
  23. 91
    This is music that moves the body along with the spirit, a damn fine step in the right direction.
  24. Oct 28, 2013
    87
    Clocking in at an hour and twenty-five minutes, Reflektor drags in parts, though it contains plenty of moments (most often in its uptempo, dynamic first half) that sound ready to breathe life into the middling state of commercial rock in 2013.
  25. They’ve re-affirmed their place as one of the best bands in the world and have created an album that is insightful, emotional, fun and just damn amazing.
  26. 90
    At this point, Win Butler is rock ‘n’ roll’s Christopher Nolan, a hyper-literate artist who crafts reliable, intelligent, and challenging blockbuster events that sweep our minds away. With the 85-minute Reflektor, he’s taken his most creative risks to date and at the cost of simply trusting what he sees, who he knows, and where he wants to go.
  27. 80
    They’ve recorded another stunning album that’s going to be a bear to follow up.
  28. Oct 28, 2013
    70
    Reflektor is as fascinating as it is frustrating, an oddly compelling miasma of big pop moments and empty sonic vistas that offers up a (full-size) snapshot of a band at its commerical peak, trying to establish eye contact from atop a mountain.
  29. Oct 28, 2013
    75
    The finish provides a slow comedown from the buzz of the album’s first half--which by itself ranks with Arcade Fire’s best, most challenging work. The textural experiments of Part 2 can’t keep pace.
  30. Oct 28, 2013
    80
    Reflektor is long and weird and indulgent and deeply committed. It has three to five genuinely great songs; it also wanders off into the filler hinterlands for 20 minutes or so (out of 70).
  31. Oct 28, 2013
    92
    They've given us something in the present tense that, these days, feels depressingly unfashionable: An Event--an album that dares to be great, and remarkably succeeds.
  32. Big only because Arcade Fire think big, Reflektor stretches stadium rock’s reach in the acts of self-reinvention and revitalisation. Now that’s entertainment.
  33. Oct 28, 2013
    80
    Arcade Fire's fourth album is pure death disco: a pulsating, electronic work, heavy of theme but light on its feet.
  34. Oct 28, 2013
    70
    Reflektor is not the vintage record the hype would have us believe. But it will, if nothing else, get your feet moving.
  35. Oct 25, 2013
    80
    Though a double album of 80 minutes, Reflektor feels shorter than The Suburbs, and better paced.
  36. Oct 24, 2013
    60
    It sounds like the work of a band that have plenty of good ideas, but increasingly can't tell them from their bad ones--or won't be told.
  37. Oct 24, 2013
    80
    It is exhaustingly, daringly, bafflingly brilliant, but you might want to lie down in a dark room after listening.
  38. 90
    Reflektor acts as a vehicle through which the band’s established flair can be refracted into a new polarising, pulverising shape.
  39. Oct 21, 2013
    80
    With fourth album Reflektor, their past is documented in vivid detail, delivered with such urgency and bombast it's difficult to look ahead. But look ahead they do, arriving with their fullest and most ambitious record to date.
  40. Oct 21, 2013
    40
    Nine of the 13 tracks go over the five minute mark, and despite the combined fertility of Arcade Fire and producer James Murphy’s creative minds, very few tracks justify their running times.
  41. 80
    It's a brave and sometimes baffling album, broaching difficult themes; though faced with a series of such unforgiving electro-sonic maelstroms, one may hanker for the touches of folksy pastoralism that lightened earlier AF albums.
  42. 75
    Arcade Fire, today's reigning big-message rock band, bring more cynical tidings on their intrepid, uneven, and very long (75 minutes) fourth album, Reflektor.
  43. Oct 11, 2013
    80
    Despite the lulls, the resistance to ending songs, Reflektor lets Arcade Fire shed expectations along with a skin, an act of rejuvenation few at their level manage with conviction. [Nov 2013, p.82]
  44. Oct 11, 2013
    60
    While Reflektor isn't so flawed as to strip them of their sash, it's a wobble on a podium, a needless error of judgement that could have been easily avoided had they heeded that other old truism. [Nov 2013, p.100]
  45. Oct 2, 2013
    70
    While the overall sound is massive, it's become somewhat restricted in tone and texture, most tracks careering towards climaxes of cacophonous synth whines and heavy rock guitars, a narrower palette than on previous albums. [Nov 2013, p.66]
  46. Oct 2, 2013
    80
    The juggernauting anthemia that has become their signature is upscaled for Reflektor, a wider-than-widescreen, 70-minute, two-disc odyssey.
  47. Sep 30, 2013
    40
    ‘It’s Never Over’ is this band’s best TV On The Radio impression, and ‘Porno’ almost goes G-funk: a pleasant surprise. But undercooked electronics, impotent rhetoric, too-familiar crescendo-ing structures and an overall feeling that this needs further post-production attention render Reflektor an entirely substandard album.
  48. Sep 27, 2013
    90
    Reflektor is closer to turning-point classics such as U2's Achtung Baby and Radiohead's Kid A--a thrilling act of risk and renewal by a band with established commercial appeal and a greater fear of the average, of merely being liked.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 449 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 94 out of 104
  2. Negative: 2 out of 104
  1. Oct 29, 2013
    10
    The best summary of modern music in two quite different discs. Various feelings is going to rip you apart while you consume this masterpiece.The best summary of modern music in two quite different discs. Various feelings is going to rip you apart while you consume this masterpiece. Hint: listen it at least 3 times before judging Full Review »
  2. Oct 29, 2013
    10
    100% ★★★★★

    We've all been patiently waiting for "Reflektor." We've dealt with the cryptic marketing, the short video clips and the secret
    100% ★★★★★

    We've all been patiently waiting for "Reflektor." We've dealt with the cryptic marketing, the short video clips and the secret shows. The question is, did "Reflektor" measure up to the hype? It did. The album starts out with the fantastic 7 minute long title track "Reflektor" which we all know features a guest
    vocal spot from David Bowie. The track is synth heavy, and this is the first
    of many songs where you will notice an influence from James Murphy.
    7 minutes don't seem to be enough, as Reflektor ends and leads to "We Exist."

    In "We Exist," the track opens up with a slashing guitar, and a bass line that rivals up to the greatest Michael Jackson songs. Harmonies from Win and Regine are in nearly every track, so if you are a fan of harmonies, this is a good album from you. Sometimes their vocals cross over one another, but it's still easy to follow and you will quickly find yourself singing and dancing along, just likeprevious Arcade Fire albums, but Reflektor is different because it really IS dancy.

    "Flashbulb Eyes" is next, and it serves as a really great warm up track to
    "Here Comes The Night Time.""Here Comes The Night Time" is a 6 1/2 minute track that is boarder line reggae. I honestly never thought Arcade Fire would go in this direction, but I'm glad they did, I think this will be a great live album.
    Next is "Normal Person," which, in my opinion is one of the real standout tracks on this great record. It's like any great David Bowie track, full of glam ,and you really can't help but sing along.

    Disc one comes to a close with Joan of Arc, a great post punk masterpiece. The track is driven by dark guitar, a simple drum beat, and a swooning background vocal from Regine. I've never heard anything like it.

    Disc two opens up with "Here Comes The Night Time II" which is extremely different from the first part. This track is probably the most "classic" Arcade Fire got on Reflektor. The violins combined with Win Butler's slightly reverbed vocals are heavenly. It reminds me a lot of the closing track from "The Suburbs." The whole album is fantastic, but the second disc is where the real magic is. Every track on the second half is dark, and almost completely different from the first disc. After listening, you'll understand why they decided to split it up.

    "Awful Sound" is just amazing. It sounds like it's straight off of a Beatles record, but with that touch of sound that unmistakeably lets you know it's an Arcade Fire song. The drum fill and the harmonies are fantastic, and really took me by surprise. My personal favorite track on "Reflektor" is next, "It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)." The track is really dark, and features vocals from both Win and Regine harmonizing with one another, to a drum beat that cuts right through you. "It's Never Over" is really intense. This song is what perfection sounds like. A modern masterpiece.

    "Reflektor" comes to an end with the 11 minute "Supersymmetry." A synth heavy song that will leave you feeling emotionally distraught and wanting more. I would have to say, I think this is Arcade Fire's best record yet. This is their version of "Kid A." Years from now, people will still be talking about this album, and you will hear it in other bands, whom were inspired by how genuinely different and groundbreaking it is. This is why we love Arcade Fire. Sometimes they play it safe, and sometimes they step outside of the box, and no matter what, it always ends up great, because their attention to detail is completely unrivaled. Arcade Fire are 4 for 4. Not many bands can do that. They are on a path of continued success, and will be the greats of our era.
    Full Review »
  3. Oct 30, 2013
    0
    Has to be the most overrated album I have heard in a long time. I loved arcade fires first two albums, the suburbs was decent but a bit longHas to be the most overrated album I have heard in a long time. I loved arcade fires first two albums, the suburbs was decent but a bit long and drawn out. They have tried something different with this album which i have nothing against but this simply isn't enjoyable listen to. Every single song could be cut by three minutes. Once you think your enjoying one song it drags on for no apparent reason for another three minutes. The only critical review i agree with is clash. Very disappointing. Full Review »