My day today has been dominated by one thing; the release of Arcade Fire’s new album, Reflektor. I became an Arcade Fire fan a year or two after the release of Neon Bible, and I went through a good six months of obsession with The Suburbs. Since the breakup of the White Stripes, they’ve probably been my favorite band. So I’ve been waiting for Reflektor for a good long time, even going so far as to preorder it so I could get a crack at tour tickets when the band hits the road next year.
I’ve been listening to it all day, and yes I love it. It’s way long, sometimes meandering, and enthralling to me. We’ll see if the bloom comes off the rose down the road, but for now I’m sky-high with enjoyment. But I think a big part of my joy now is that I am just excited that there’s an album for me to be excited about. I’ve had other albums sweep me away, even as recently as this summer. But this is the first time in maybe four or five years that I’ve been building myself up to a new release, remembering the release date and listening to it several times when it finally comes out. The relative quality of the album isn’t really that important. It’s just fun to get swept up in the hype a little bit.
This just doesn’t happen anymore, and I’m not sure it’s because I’m older. Truthfully those big moments of pent-up excitement have been cheapened horribly. Every movie has a midnight showing, every album leaks weeks ahead of time, and every advertisement associated with them pummels us with constant reminders of when something is coming. When everything is an event, nothing is really special at all. I know I’ve gotten cynical about any sort of big pop culture event, and my first inclination is to be dismissive and not be taken in by the hype. Most things that try to be events haven’t really earned the right to sell themselves that way. It doesn’t help that most of these big “events” are pitched at teenagers and college students, and not at thirty-year-old fathers of two.
Maybe Reflektor is special because it’s one of those big events that lines up directly with something I still care very much about. I don’t need guerrilla marketing to tell me that a new Arcade Fire album will excite me. I might not be able to muster the same level of passion for the next Hobbit movie, because that’s not where I am now. But Arcade Fire today reminded me that there isn’t a problem with gushing a little. It’s okay to get excited.