Now Hear This: Ready To Start - Arcade Fire
“Ready To Start” is one of four tracks released to radio as a precursor to Arcade Fire’s third full length album The Suburbs, scheduled for release August 3, 2010. Contextually, the song shows up as the second on the album’s released track list, which hints at The Suburbs being a concept disc. Of the four tracks, “Ready To Start” is the closest to the moodiness that’s associated with Arcade Fire. Still, it fits within the structure of what seems to be a much less dramatic Arcade Fire musically. This is not to be frowned up, but rather admired from a band that has always done exactly what they wanted to do. Now, the wait for new material has become refined.
It’s pretty obvious that Arcade Fire is not afraid to offer thematic and sonic contrast. Their debut album Funeral was Arcade Fire’s comment on life and death (mostly death). Next, they preached to the public with Neon Bible, which sounded more like a band of science than a band of faith. Since Arcade Fire has never tried to dupe the public, “Ready To Start” tells us that The Suburbs will be Arcade Fire telling a story.
What’s exciting is the prospect that a band known for its grandiose seems very capable of telling a clear and concise tale. Bowie will not be listed as a reference this time around, regarding sound or concept. Early indications set up a rather simple story that lends itself better to connection than sprawling intergalactic epics or tales of teenage messiahs.
“Ready To Start” moves with an unimposing momentum. Chugging guitars are background to the metre setting bass line, yet they are still integral to the rhythm and motion of the song. It builds itself as it goes with rolling pianos and washy symbols. There’s a real possibility that some will call the track bland, but in the grand scheme of the album people will find it difficult to skip it.
Lyrically, “Ready To Start” is all about progression and truth. Lead vocalist Win Butler is ready to pass judgement on the moulded hip-culture youth. What little doom is presented in the opening lines is quickly redeemed when Win states, “…but I guess I’ll just begin again.” Later, he admits to the ease of bowing before the powers that be, but this is more for the weak than himself. However biographical the story is, Win provides blatant and sober answers to his own questions in the chorus. When he finally reminds himself that he is alone, it’s more of a reality check than a cry for pity. Surely, this chapter of the story deserves merit for its “get off your ass” message if nothing else.
Charge another band with the task of weaving an intriguing thread through the mundane and you’ll come up wanting. All stories have a beginning, middle and an end. The title of “Ready To Start” clearly defines where it stands within the constructs of the narrative, and its composure promises that even a day in The Suburbs can be full of revelation.