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Trouble in the Arcade

Submitted by Commandrea on February 15, 2011 – 2:32 pm4 Comments

Leon casino, By Jack Daniel Betz

What are we to make of Arcade Fire’s Grammy victory? I don’t think anyone is going to argue that it was undeserved but what are the implications of such an underdog snagging one of mainstream music’s most prestigious awards? Maybe it means nothing.

It seems strange that The Suburbs would be pitted against pitted against Lady Gaga and Eminem etc. When Arcade Fire’s efforts are culled from the most vanilla and mainstream of music I don’t know if them winning really means anything. Of course it wasn’t a definite that they would win knowing the tastes of the academy and narrow spectrum of music they normally choose from but why Arcade Fire? There are hundreds of influential indie efforts released every year that never make it into the running. So why do they matter now?

Inevitably lots of people are going to begin saying that Arcade Fire has “sold out” or has been absorbed into the great rock and roll swindle of the mainstream record industry. Capricious young indie kids will probably spit on them for winning and they’ll either need to remain silent or at least really quiet to reclaim their “cred”. Whether this will mar or magnify Arcade Fire’s influence in the context of modern music is uncertain.

But seriously, why Academy? Why now? Does this mean you’ll give more consideration to slightly less mainstream musicians or is this just a desperate attempt to remain relevant long after we’ve all realized that only the biggest pop stars and biggest hip hop acts stand a chance at the Grammys? Unlikely. It’s all very confusing.


  • Spencer Schyma says:

    Dude youre hilarious-the grammys dont mean shit and neither does this superficial construct “indie cred” either. Indie isn’t just underground music anymore- it’s a very loose and subjective attribute we like to give to a broad range of artists that lack anything that binds them together except their fanbase- which tend to be white 15-25 year olds who have long hair, tattoos, and act like everything mainstream is automatically “vanilla” and boring. Arcade Fire are very mainstream- it’s just their fanbase happen to be this “indie” thing we’ve all created.

  • admin says:

    I think you missed the point of the article. The whole section about “indie cred” was sort of facetious, if you didn’t get that. Indie isn’t underground anymore. Arcade Fire is far more mainstream than they used to be which isn’t necessarily bad. It’s just strange that the Academy picked them. Seemed a little out of left field. Plus, notice the use of “slightly less mainstream”.

  • Spencerrrrrr says:

    I looked it up- they were #1 on the charts in the US, Canada, and UK for the first week the Suberbs was out……. Goes to show “indie groups” can be just as popular and mainstream as Lady gaga or Eminem.

  • Spencerrrrrr says:

    I looked it up- they were #1 on the charts in the US, Canada, and UK for the first week the Suberbs was out……. Goes to show \"indie groups\" can be just as popular and mainstream as Lady gaga or Eminem.

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