Top 25 Arcade Fire songs

Spurred on by the release of WE, a conversation with my son, and Consequence of Sound's "Every Arcade Fire Song Ranked from Worst to Best" post, I decided it was time to work on my own Arcade Fire list. I am thankful to my friend John handing me Funeral back in 2004, and have been a huge fan ever since. In fact, they are one of the few bands who I love and own a full discography without ever seeing them live--hopefully will remedy that one day.

My Arcade Fire listening is closely related to my family. I got married the year Funeral was released, and did not yet have kids when Neon Bible dropped, so we listened to both of those a lot as a couple on road trips.

When The Suburbs was released two of my children had been born, all three of my kids have grown up listening to that album, and it is a family favorite. One of my favorite vinyl listening experiences is when The Suburbs vinyl came in the mail, my wife and I sat down in my office after our babies were asleep and listened to the album in full with the lyrics in hand. We were both hooked immediately.

Reflektor and Everything Now are far less family friendly. I love Reflektor, but most of my listening has been solo. And Everything Now is by far my least favorite Arcade Fire album, and I have only really played three of the songs for my family. We all absolutely love "Put Your Money on Me".

I am thankful WE is another family friendly album, and we have already played it a few times in the car. "Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)" immediately became my wife's favorite Arcade Fire song, and jumped into my top-5. As a parent, these lyrics resonate deeply:

"Lookout kid, trust your heart
You don't have to play the part they wrote for you
Just be true
There are things that you could do
That no one else on earth could ever do
But I can't teach you, I can't teach it to you
Lookout kid, trust your mind
But you can't trust it every time
You know it plays tricks on you
And it don't give a damn if you are happy or you're sad
But if you've lost it, don't feel bad
'Cause it's alright to be sad
Lookout kid, trust your body
You can dance, and you can shake
Things will break, you make mistakes
You lose your friends, again and again
'Cause nothing is ever perfect
No one's perfect
Let me say it again, no one's perfect
A lifetime of skinned knees
And heartbreak comes so easy
But a life without pain would be boring
And if you feel it, it's fine
I give you everything that's mine
I give you my heart and my precious time
Lookout kid, trust your soul
It ain't hard to rock n' roll
You know how to move your hips
And you know God is cool with it
But some people want the rock without the roll
But we all know, there's no God without soul
A lifetime of skinned knees
And heartbreak comes so easily
But a life without you
Would be boring for someone like me
And if you feel it, it's fine
I give you everything that's mine
I give you my heart and my precious time
(Precious time)
(Give you everything)
I give you my heart and my precious time
It's unconditional
It's unconditional
No matter what you do
It's unconditional"

After a couple of days I narrowed Arcade Fire's 79-song catalog to 25, but putting them "in order" has proven impossible. With that in mind, I ranked my top 5, and then otherwise I grouped the songs in the order I rank the albums.

Top 25 Arcade Fire Songs:

1. "City With No Children" (3:12)

2. "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" (5:26)

3. "Wake Up" (5:35)

4. "Put Your Money On Me" (5:53)

5. "Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)" (4:34)

The next 20 songs are ordered by my album ranking preference and not how I prefer each individual song:


The Suburbs
"The Suburbs" (5:15)
"Ready to Start" (4:16)
"Modern Man" (4:40)
"We Used to Wait" (5:01)


"Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" (4:48)
"Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" (5:13)
"Crown Of Love" (4:42)
"Rebellion (Lies)" (5:11)


"The Lightning I" + "The Lightning II" (3:02 + 2:34) (Note: While most of Arcade Fire's "numbered songs" stand alone, these two are inseparable and the same, continued work.)
"Unconditional II (Race and Religion)" (4:21)


Neon Bible
"Keep The Car Running" (3:29)
"Intervention" (4:19)
"Black Wave/Bad Vibrations" (3:58)
"No Cars Go" (5:44)


"It's Never Over (Hey Orpheus)" (6:43)
"Reflektor" (7:34)
"We Exist" (5:44)
"Here Comes the Night Time" (6:31)


Everything Now
"Creature Comfort" (4:44)
"We Don't Deserve Love (6:29)


Best of 1989

1989 was the year BEFORE the year I began buying my own music. However, the #10 album on this list I did hear in full as Batman was the first PG-13 movie I ever saw. My parents were extremely hesitant, but I begged and begged and finally got to see it in the theater. I turned 13 in 1989, so it was only fitting, right?! 

And I got the Lego Batmobile for Christmas just last month, which was definitely the most fun (and longest--almost 9 hours!) Lego build of my life. My Batman obsession is going on strong now since watching the 60's show reruns as a young kid in the 80's.

Top 10 albums of 1989:

1. The Innocence Mission- The Innocence Mission

2. The Connells- Fun & Games

3. The Cure- Disintegration

4. Lifesavers Underground- Wakin' Up the Dead

5. Toad The Wet Sprocket- Bread And Circus

6. The Violet Burning- Chosen

7. The Crucified- The Crucified

8. 10,000 Maniacs- Blind Man's Zoo

9. The Choir- Wide-Eyed Wonder

10. Prince- Batman Motion Picture Soundtrack


Best of 1988

While I know and love a ton of music from 1986 and 1987, 1988 is a challenging year. Even finding 10 albums I "know" and enjoy is a challenge. I only own three on vinyl, and none on CD or cassette. 

In 1988, the year I turned 12, I didn't really listen to music, except what my parents listened to and random top-40 radio in carpools to school and practices. And what my parents listened to was: Sandi Patti, Bill Gaither, Michael Card, GLAD, etc. Even my favorite album of 1988 I didn't listen to at the time. I was vaguely familiar with Amy Grant, but I definitely did not hear Lead Me On in full until probably the early 90's. The only other artist listed below that I definitely heard in 1988 was R.E.M.'s singles on the radio. The top 5 below I had all heard and knew by the end of the 90's, but then numbers 6-10 I didn't even discover until after Y2K.

Top 10 albums of 1988:

1. Amy Grant- Lead Me On

2. R.E.M.- Green

3. Tracy Chapman- Tracy Chapman

4. Adam Again- Ten Songs by Adam Again       

5. The Choir- Chase the Kangaroo

6. The Church- Starfish

7. The Pixies- Surfer Rosa

8. Cowboy Junkies- The Trinity Session

9. My Bloody Valentine- Isn’t Anything

10. Sonic Youth- Daydream Nation


Best of 1985

As 2022 begins, seems only fitting my first blog post of the year is my top albums of 1985--ha! But I do have some gaps to fill in with my lists--notably 1988 and 1989. While those are coming, I am going to start with 1985 as I actually have "a lot" of vinyl albums from that year, at least compared to much of the 80's. Just pulled these off my shelves:

What's weird about writing these eighties lists is that I heard almost none of this music at the time. I turned nine in 1985, and the only artist below I was remotely aware of was Amy Grant--but even with her I didn't become a fan until I was 12 or so. I might have heard a Tears for Fears and a-ha song on the radio, but most of these artists and albums I didn't discover until the late 90's or later. Also, I only really "know" three of these albums in full. I have listened to them all, but this year in music is still largely a mystery to me and may always will be.

Top 10 albums of 1985:

1. Tears For Fears- Songs From The Big Chair

2. Steve Taylor- On The Fritz

3. Amy Grant- Unguarded

4. R.E.M.- Fables Of The Reconstruction

5. The Connells- Darker Days

6. The Jesus & Mary Chain- Psychocandy

7. Kate Bush- Hounds of Love

8. Til Tuesday- Voices Carry

9. Stevie Nicks- Rock A Little

10. a-ha- Hunting High And Low