Matt Wendus’ review of “Neon Bible” by Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Band: Arcade Fire

Album: Neon Bible

Critic: Matt Wendus

Publication: Stereo Subversion, 2007

Writing Disorders: Purple Hemorrhage, Ambiguity Sickness

Most Emo Phrase: “jaunty swings that belie the gloomy temperament”

 

 

Matt, this is the second time you’ve been featured on RipFork, and this review has many of the hallmarks of your worst work: the dogged refusal to use the first person, the ample use of BS to pad paragraphs; and the silly, drawn-out metaphors to describe things that are best left for ears to figure out. Often you combine several of these traits into a single sentence:

 

Neon Bible settles into a more restrained sound that speaks in statements rather than the aorta spurts of the hyper-personal Funeral”

 

Speaks in statements? So the album is built on something other than questions or commands? Whoa, call the International Board of Piercing Insight — I think we’ve got a shoo-in here. By the way, how does one speak in aorta spurts? I’m rather glad they don’t offer that as a high school language elective. Next.

 

While Neon Bible has its fair share of tracks that tickle the tear ducts, it’s more concerned with bleakness on a broader scale”

 

First of all, how can an album be concerned with anything? It’s an inanimate object. A mechanism can make it spin so that a laser or needle can translate its data into sound. That’s not sentience. Second, how do you have any idea what the band is concerned with in the making of their album? Have you ever spoken to Arcade Fire? No. There’s as much of a chance of Win Butler being concerned with bleakness on a narrower scale as there is of him being concerned with bleakness on a broader scale. If you “think” something, it’s a good idea to reflect it in your writing.

 

“Throughout, the listener is treated to Chassagne playing the pipe organ like a bipolar Dracula as twinkling xylophone goes along for the ride.”

 

Dude, how do you know what any listener other than yourself will be “treated to” on this song? The chances of someone else using the same metaphor of a Bram Stoker character with a mood disorder seem slim. Just say what YOU were treated to. It’s not against the law to write an opinion piece as an opinion piece.

 

On to the clunky…

 

“All is varied, yet set into the larger framework that is the whole.”

 

And what framework is that? Do you even know? Could it be that you weren’t sure how to end a paragraph and resorted to clunky BS that reads like something The Dude would babble in Mr. Lebowski’s limo?

 

That was all well and bad, Matt, but you certainly outdid yourself with your ending:

 

Neon Bible is a rich sonic tapestry of the digital age in which we fight to find answers in the flashing lights while seeking solace in the untouched corners.”

 

Wow, did you labor over that lengthy review just so you could write that self-serving conclusion? Matt, I know you don’t write music criticism anymore, but where there’s an Internet, there’s a way, and there’s still plenty of yours in the vaults to probe. Take care.

11 thoughts on “Matt Wendus’ review of “Neon Bible” by Arcade Fire

  1. Christ, I know you’re trying to be funny, but if you’re going to be this intentionally obtuse about every review no one will ever live up to your poorly outlined standards of good music criticism.

    If someone states an opinion too definitively, you’ll accuse them of speaking for everyone when they should speak for themselves.
    If someone states a fact or describes the sound of a song, you tell them they should stick to opinions.

    Here’s an idea: Write one of these about one of your posts and see all the ridiculous things you can criticize about your own writing. If you can’t find anything, you’re just as bad as the critics you’re ripping (or worse, since you’ve clearly put yourself on such a pedestal). If you can, maybe you’ll see the hypocrisy of 90% of your rambling nonsense and either fix it or shut the fuck up.

    It’s great that you’re keeping a watch on critics; god knows they need it. But several times, reading your critiques, I shake my head and wonder if you even know what you’re talking about. If you’re the one to call bullshit, you’ve gotta be a lot better.

    Respectfully speaking, of course.

  2. If I’d written like this reviewer in *grade school* I’d have had it beaten out of me.

  3. @ChristianH

    To pick this review specifically to say that Matt should use his criticism techniques on his own work is a tad ironic. Since, like, that’s exactly what he did.

  4. I love it. I became tired of over-analysis taking English Lit. 101 in college. My prof would go on and on reading all kinds of symbolism etc. in the stories, and I couldn’t help think “isn’t it just a story?” Sure, there may be a bit of symbolism, but it got out of hand. Maybe I’m a bit of a redneck here, but critics simply read too much in the stuff they review – whether music, movies, etc. It gets so bad that the review is meaningless. I’m glad you took Matt to task on the review. You did it well by pulling and presenting quotes. Keep on taking critics to task and maybe we’ll start seeing some helpful reviews.

  5. “you cannot please everybody,” so the saying goes. All of us is entitled to our respective opinion. So we have to just learn to accept that fact. Matt, go ahead and continue with your work!

  6. I, a critic, propose that one (i.e. i’m implying you, the reader) should recognize “first of all, how can an album be concerned with anything? It’s an inanimate object.” as that which soars deeply towards the winning the prize for the stupidest quote to be extracted from the detritus of this site’s mercifully short existence.

    caleb jackson: yeah, it’s just a story. its a story which has symbolism. thanks for playing

  7. @christian, you took all the words and thoughts out of my head and mouth. A great critic can self reflect and critique his own work just as easily. That’s what being in the “middle” is. Unattached.


  8. null:

    @ChristianH
    To pick this review specifically to say that Matt should use his criticism techniques on his own work is a tad ironic. Since, like, that’s exactly what he did.

    Exactly.

  9. Type your comment here


    null:

    I, a critic, propose that one (i.e. i’m implying you, the reader) should recognize “first of all, how can an album be concerned with anything? It’s an inanimate object.” as that which soars deeply towards the winning the prize for the stupidest quote to be extracted from the detritus of this site’s mercifully short existence.
    caleb jackson: yeah, it’s just a story. its a story which has symbolism. thanks for playing

    Are you serious dude? “as that which soars deeply towards the winning the prize” ?????

    Never write again, please and thank you.

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