One of the bands touring Australia for the 2014 Big Day Out is Arcade Fire, the relatively unknown Canadian indie-rock ensemble with whom Ryan Shelton would like to acquaint you. Ryan, whose face and voice you might recognise from gigs with Rove, Hamish & Andy and various radio stations, is a self confessed Arcade Fire tragic who has harnessed his irrepressible fan-boy enthusiasm into a guide of the essential Arcade Fire tracks, referencing each of the band’s four studio albums (which you can listen to on the playlist below)…

Arcade Fire Essential Listening List:
1. Wake Up – Funeral
2. Rebellion (Lies) – Funeral
3. Keep the Car Running – Neon Bible
4. Intervention – Neon Bible
5. No Cars Go – Neon Bible
6. Modern Man – The Suburbs
7. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) – The Suburbs
8. Reflektor – Reflektor
9. We Exist – Reflektor
10. Afterlife – Reflektor
11. The Suburbs (COVER by Mr Little Jeans)

The mere mention of Arcade Fire makes me smile. The mere sound of Arcade Fire inspires me into believing I could do something incredible that, let’s be honest, I could never actually do. Like running into the wild and hugging a lion. Or changing my name to Win Butler. But trying to whittle their music down to their best 10 tracks has proven to be utterly impossible. Which is why I didn’t choose my 10 “favourite” Arcade Fire tracks. I chose what I think could be considered the 10 most “essential” Arcade Fire tracks from their 4 glorious albums.

I would have chosen my 10 favourites, but like I explained before, that has proven to be utterly impossible. I can’t believe I’m repeating myself already. Are you even listening to me at all?

1. Wake Up
2. Rebellion (Lies)
Funeral, 2004 
Even though my involvement in this very article may suggest that I am nothing less than the biggest Arcade Fire fan in the whole wide world, sadly I was actually a tad late to the Arcade Fire party. “Wake Up” was the song that first brought me to them when Spike Jonze used it in his trailer for Where The Wild Things Are. As soon as I saw/heard it… I stayed at that metaphorical Arcade Fire party and never left. In fact I’m still there now. It’s really good. You should come. It’s open house. Maybe bring some drinks though. We ran out years ago. Thanks.

Apologies: “Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)”, “Neighbourhood #4 (7 Kettles)

3. Keep The Car Running
4. Intervention
5. No Cars Go
Neon Bible, 2007 
After a selected part of the world went totes mental over Funeral, the pressure was understandably on for a pretty impressive follow-up. And what’s the best way to follow-up anything in a really impressive way? With a LOT of church organs of course. Intervention subscribes to this theory. “No Cars Go” makes up for any lack of church organ with a welcome tidal wave of strings.
Then “Keep The Car Running” is just amazing and needs to be recognised as such for the rest of musical time.
Apologies: “Black Mirror”

6. Modern Man
7. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
The Suburbs, 2010 
Three years later they proved that yes, lightning does strike thrice. After all, this was the album that won them the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2011 and had a lot of mainstream music types saying, “Arcade who? I mean, oh yeah, Arcade… (checks notes) Fire. I love… them. Always have. Yep… The Arcade Fires are great.”
Apologies: “Ready To Start”, “City With No Children”, “The Suburbs”, “Rococo”

8. Reflektor
9. We Exist
10. Afterlife

Reflektor, 2013
 
Released last year, this double album lifted the bar yet again. Now it’s so high I can’t even reach the bar unless I’m wearing heels. Afterlife could be my favourite Arcade Fire song of all time. It’s killer. It’s an incredible song about life after a break up. I’ve listened to it at least infinity times. At least. Actually, if you have time between checking your Facebook and checking your Facebook again, please watch the live music video they performed at the YouTube Music Awards last year with Great Gerwig. It was directed by Spike Jonze. It’s even killerer.
Apologies: “Here Comes The Night Time”, “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)”

11. The Suburbs (Cover by Mr Little Jeans)
What? A BONUS TRACK? Yes. A bonus track. I’m a generous guy, don’t even mention it. I had to include this cover of “The Suburbs” from Mr Little Jeans. Firstly because I couldn’t fit the original version in the Essential 10 and secondly because, well, it’s just unreal.

If you missed out on Big Day Out tickets, each week Rdio Australia is
offering one lucky winner and three mates free tickets to their nearest
Big Day Out festival, plus Rdio will fly a grand prize winner and two
friends to the final Big Day Out in Perth (2 Feb) where they’ll be
hooked up with accommodation and have access to the exclusive ‘Rdio
Den’, a chill-zone for festival down time. The closing date for
competition entries is Sunday 26th January, so enter now at onrdio.com by registering your details and letting Rdio know in 25 words or less, why they should enter the ‘Rdio Den’.

Main Photo: Anton Corbijn