Of all the indie bands to go mainstream in the past decade, none is more beloved, revered and influential than Arcade Fire. This octet from Montreal -- with founding members (and husband and wife) Win Butler and Régine Chassagne sharing vocals -- has earned many accolades and the unwavering devotion of music critics and fans alike.
"Funeral," their 2004 debut album, met with near universal praise. In 2007, their follow up -- "Neon Bible" -- also received rapturous acclaim, peaking at #2 on the Billboard 200 Chart and becoming a top ten hit on numerous international charts. Last year, "Funeral" was hailed as one of the best albums of last decade by some of the most respected critics worldwide, landing at #2 on Pitchfork's Top 200 Albums of the 2000s, #6 on Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums of the Decade and #7 on NME's Top 100 of the Decade.
However, Grammy glory has eluded Arcade Fire, with only 3 nominations to date -- two in 2006 for Best Alternative Music Album for "Funeral" and Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media for "Cold Wind," their contribution to the "Six Feet Under" soundtrack, and in 2008 a sole nomination for Best Alternative Music Album for "Neon Bible."
This year, their third studio album "The Suburbs" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Chart, as well as UK Albums Chart and Canadian Albums Chart, and went top 10 throughout Europe and in Australia. Registering an average score of 86% at Metacritic, a score of 8.6/10 from Pitchfork, 9/10 from NME, and 4.5 stars out of 5 from Spin, "The Suburbs" is one of the best reviewed albums of 2010.
Could this mean that Arcade Fire may finally be promoted into the coveted Album of the Year category? Many commentators seem to think so, suggesting that they are well overdue for recognition by NARAS in the top category of the night.
In addition to a possible Album of the Year nod, It seems a safe bet that "The Suburbs" will garner a nod in the Alternative Music Album category, and Arcade Fire has a good chance for Song of the Year and Best Rock Group for "Ready to Start" (their third single from the album -- watch the video below) as well as a possible nod for Short Form Music Video for their interactive music video "The Wilderness Downtown/We Used to Wait."
Photo: Arcade Fire (Merge Records)