8. Arcade Fire-Neon Bible. (Halftime award!) I picked this album when I was only halfway through the year, but you’re forgiven if you forgot that this March release actually came out in ’07. Unlike Funeral, which made a deep and lasting impression on the blogosphere, Neon Bible came and went with less than a month of real hype or fanfare. Partly, I suspect, this was because there are so many more releases (and so many more bloggers) than back in the glory days when I first got started and fell in love with Arcade Fire. But The Foo Fighters helped keep the hype running with their cover of “Keep the Car Running,” and then Bruce joined in the fun. It’s darker than Funeral (if that’s possible) in it’s truly bleak world outlook, but it also marks a wonderful trend of returning to music that matters: Protest songs abound in a time of war, and many of the tunes on this record are powerful examples. More importantly, at a time when the world is desperate for faith, AF explore the issue with overtly simplistic lyrics but true depth of feeling. It’s not rated higher because of the fact that one of the best songs on it is over five years old (â€œNo Cars Goâ€). When I first got it, this made me wonder if the band had shot its creative load. Fortunately, there are enough great songs on itâ€”and enough of a theme holding the entire thing togetherâ€”that I was convinced otherwise.
And kudos for not taking a major label contract!