Published Sep 24, 2020It's been five years since Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Will Butler released a solo studio album and four since the live album Friday Night. With a halt to recording a new Arcade Fire record due to COVID-19, Butler hasn't let his time under lockdown cease the process of making Generations in his Brooklyn studio.
The album explores Butlers' exploration into history and his calling as an artist. In a statement, he said Generations raises questions like, "What's my place in American history? What's my place in America's present?" Ultimately, it's about reflecting on our place in the world.
The album begins with "Outta Here," a track with hypnotic energy, followed by "Bethlehem," which exudes the same energy but in a punk-inspired fashion. The entire album feels nostalgic, especially on tracks like "Close My Eyes" and "Surrender," which recall Arcade Fire's 2010 masterpiece The Suburbs. It's folk-like in nature, packing an intense punch but with a timeless spin. "Not Gonna Die" is another notable ballad featuring stellar saxophone and layering of guitars. Butler sings of ways he won't die and other ways he might — an eerie topic for sure, but a standout track on the record.
Generations feature a magnitude of emotions, both raw and sincere. You can't help but ask yourself the same question the record poses: What do I do? What can I do? (Merge)