Win Butler Is Still Defensive About Everything Now’s Clumsy Rollout
Arcade Fire’s Everything Now press campaign was one of the year’s most memorable, and not in a good way. The flurry of mystery Twitter feeds, fake news, and fidget spinners drove plenty of longtime fans up the wall. Had the album itself been strong, all the nonsense in its service might have been forgiven. Alas, Everything Now came out thin and cynical, padded with things called “Infinite Content” and “Infinite_Content.”
In an new interview with David Marchese for Vulture, Win Butler dissects how his band’s latest rollout went awry. Frustratingly and predictably, Butler believes the Everything Now experiment performed just as intended. “The media is built for clicks now, and we were trying to see firsthand how it all works,” he said. “I feel like I now understand on a much deeper level why Trump got elected. Negativity is what travels. So we learned more about how the internet functions, and how it’s an insane feedback loop.”
It’s clear Butler viewed the press campaign as Arcade Fire’s opportunity to respond to the churn of the Trump-era media outrage cycle. “The Everything Now campaign was happening in the context of all that and coming out of an election where we essentially elected Mussolini as president of the United States,” he said. “It would’ve been hard for us to just be like, ‘So this is our new record!’ I wouldn’t know how to not try and address what’s going on in the world.” As Butler points out, “Arcade Fire Played a Great Show” isn’t exactly international news, but nowadays, “Arcade Fire Made Kendall Jenner Shirts” just might be.
He’s not wrong, and we didn’t need Arcade Fire/Kendall Jenner shirts to prove it. (According to Butler, just being French would’ve sufficed: “Obviously the French are not going to have as much of a problem understanding a meta news campaign; you don’t have to explain any of this to a French journalist.”)
Towards the end of the interview, Butler wonders aloud whether Everything Now will age like an ’80s Leonard Cohen album: “[T]hey have cheesiest-sounding keyboards, but those are such essential records. They’ve stood the test of time. If the songs are good enough and interesting enough, the music lasts. Time will tell if Everything Now holds up—everything else is ephemeral.”
I doubt it will, because Everything Now is the worst Arcade Fire album, and I say this as someone who’s more charitably inclined toward it than most. Here’s hoping they just surprise-release the next one on the Friday before a long weekend or something. Read Vulture’s full interview with Win Butler here.