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In 'Creature Comfort,' Arcade Fire Drowns In The Din Of Modern Life

On July 28, Arcade Fire returns with Everything Now, its fifth studio album and first since 2013's Reflektor. Everything Now's title track, released two weeks ago, suggested that the record would mix stormy, danceable synth-pop with bleak reflections on a world in which instant gratification and hyper-connectedness come together to make everyone miserable.

With the release of "Creature Comfort," Everything Now's overall vision is becoming clearer — and, like its predecessor, it fits cleanly into a concept-album narrative about unrealistic expectations, pressure to conform, and the exhausting din of modern life. With the band looking glum but resplendent in silver suits, the video for "Creature Comfort" clarifies that vision with the help of a lyric sheet that scrolls by via ticker.

"God, just make me famous / If you can't, just make it painless," Win Butler sings, concisely summing up a widespread societal pursuit of both outsize success and numbing distraction. Like "Everything Now," in which the world's deluge of noise and information makes a comfortable existence near-impossible, "Creature Comfort" keeps coming back to a lament about the noisy pressure of it all: "It goes on and on, I don't know what I want / On and on, I don't know if I want it."

Everything Now comes out July 28 via Columbia.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)