Everything Now | The Problem with Consumerism

An analysis of Arcade Fire’s latest album, “Everything Now”.

In the information society of 2017, where everyone has access to a nearly limitless library of content through the internet, we endlessly consume media. We have access to everything at our fingertips, we fill our lives up with information and entertainment which doesn’t directly affect our personal life in a meaningful way. This topic is explored in Canadian band Arcade Fire’s latest album Everything Now, where the main theme is that of infinite consumerism our modern media landscape.

everything-now

I’m in the black again
Can’t make it back again
We can just pretend
We’ll make it home again
From everything now

Those are the opening lines of the album’s title track, Everything Now, a song that confronts our need to obtain everything immediately, a lament over our need for overstimulation and instant gratification. Here, ”being in the black” means having more money than you can ever spend, something many people in the western world can relate too. The song criticizes the consumerist culture of the modern world. ”Every room in my house is filled with shit I couldn’t live without”, Win Butler sings in the outro, a sarcastic comment on the idea that the amount of things we acquire corresponds to our happiness.

In an interview about the album, Butler puts words on the frustration of finding something meaningful in the mess of mass media culture:

“There’s sort of an everything-nowness to life. I feel like almost every event and everything that happens surrounds you on all sides. Some of it is fake and some of it is real and some of it is trying to sell you something and some of it is profound. Every moment of everything refracts into a thousand different things. It’s trying to capture some of the experiences of being alive now in all its flaws and all its glory.”

Everything Now received mixed reviews on release. The style of the album diverges from the band’s earlier work, sounding less like rock and more like disco or electropop. Some critics found this transformation successful, and others less so. Regardless of what you think about the music, the album still delivers a profound message relevant to our time. So listen to Everything Now.