AOTY 2018

Reflektor

Arcade Fire - Reflektor
Critic Score
Based on 44 reviews
2013 Ratings: #182 / 953
Year End Rank: #3
User Score
Based on 967 ratings
2013 Ratings: #19
October 29, 2013 / Release Date
LP / Format
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Tiny Mix Tapes

 It’s Arcade Fire’s most ambitious, most complex work to date, a monumental work in an era of minor projects: a capital-a Album for the Spotify generation.

95
Prefix

There is so, so much content, so beautifully and flawlessly presented that it can be baffling at times. The Suburbs, to many, was decade-defining music. Reflektor, I feel, through both content and design, will be artist-defining.

92
Pitchfork

They've given us something in the present tense that, these days, feels depressingly unfashionable: An Event—an album that dares to be great, and remarkably succeeds.

91
Pretty Much Amazing

Stretched across 85+ minutes, its riches can be overwhelming and, given Reflektor’s deceptive complexity, hidden in plain view.  But one thing is clear – the album is a product of sheer musical virtuosity, as each subsequent play makes ever apparent.

90
The Line of Best Fit

As bonkers as it is brave, this sprawling vessel represents as big a sonic reinvigoration as could be expected at the level occupied by the biggest bands in the world – and only possible for a group still too hungry to conform, and tightly wound to settle down.

90
Consequence of Sound

At this point, Win Butler is rock ‘n’ roll’s Christopher Nolan, a hyper-literate artist who crafts reliable, intelligent, and challenging blockbuster events that sweep our minds away.

90
Exclaim!

Reflektor goes after this eternal, existential tension in masterful strokes and is a significant musical contribution by Arcade Fire, who continue to find ways to tap into universal expressions while making music that's refreshingly topical, infectious and completely their own.

90
Rolling Stone

Reflektor is closer to turning-point classics such as U2's Achtung Baby and Radiohead's Kid A – a thrilling act of risk and renewal by a band with established commercial appeal and a greater fear of the average, of merely being liked.

90
Slant Magazine

The band certainly hasn't left rock behind, but they've found a way to push beyond a sense of exhaustion with the resources that the genre has to offer, while at the same time reflecting on the tenuousness of interpersonal connection in an age of hyper-evolving technology.

90
Billboard

Clocking in at an hour and twenty-five minutes, "Reflektor" drags in parts, though it contains plenty of moments that sound ready to breathe life into the middling state of commercial rock in 2013.

85
The 405

This is an admirable progression, but by no means perfect one, however, not many bands as big as Arcade Fire could make a similar transition and come out so triumphantly.

85
Crack Magazine

The sense of playfulness alongside the severity of ambition shown on Reflektor reeks of a band with an unerring confidence in their own ability.

80
The Fly

It’s this diversity that makes ‘Reflektor’ more than a curios. While it’s too long – so long, in fact, that you’ll forget your own name and nationality – its scale immerses you entirely in Arcade Fire’s universe.

80
DIY

This is the new, rejuvenated Arcade Fire; past thrown to one side, only eyes ahead.

80
Sputnikmusic

It’s Arcade Fire expanding and pushing their sound forward, while reminding us that Win Butler and crew are way more self aware than we ever gave them credit for.

80
NME

‘Reflektor’ is cleaner, sharper and dancier than anything the band have done before.

80
Spin

Reflektor is long and weird and indulgent and deeply committed. It has three to five genuinely great songs; it also wanders off into the filler hinterlands for 20 minutes or so (out of 70). 

80
American Songwriter

Fans craving some kind of thematic hook might be disappointed, but the flow the band achieves from song to song even with the variety of sounds on display should outweigh those concerns. 

80
Time Out London

‘Reflektor’ is full of swerving trajectories – so much so that it occasionally feels like channel-hopping.

80
NOW Magazine

It's not a perfect record, but nothing this ambitious was ever going to be. If you've got enough patience though, it's definitely worth the time.

80
Mojo

Despite the lulls, the resistance to ending songs, Reflektor lets Arcade Fire shed expectations along with a skin, an act of rejuvenation that few at their level manage with such fierce conviction.

80
The Independent

It's a brave and sometimes baffling album, broaching difficult themes; though faced with a series of such unforgiving electro-sonic maelstroms, one may hanker for the touches of folksy pastoralism that lightened earlier AF albums.

80
The Telegraph

Reflektor is an art rock epic, so dense and intense it feels like a pop soundclash: early Talking Heads, Berlin-period Bowie and Achtung Baby-era U2 on a fast spin cycle.

80
The Observer

Arcade Fire's fourth album is pure death disco: a pulsating, electronic work, heavy of theme but light on its feet.

75
A.V. Club

The very things that keep Arcade Fire’s fourth album, Reflektor, from unmitigated success are the things that eventually make it compelling: What’s a band to do when its ambitious cracks and deliberate detours both drag it down and push it forward?

75
Entertainment Weekly

With LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy as their new producer, they sound as separatist as they feel.

75
Spectrum Culture

Reflektor shows Arcade Fire in no way diminished, but also not pushing forward much.

72
Paste

Yes, Reflektor is very well an intellectual triumph, but—in a first for this band—it’s almost never an emotional one.

72
Northern Transmissions

Reflektor is an admirable effort on the bands part to make a change and adjust to their newfound stardom, but it suffers from a few glaring problems. With some rearranging and skimming the tracks to a single LP, the record would be as classic as anything else the band has released, but ultimately the album falls a little short.

70
AllMusic

Reflektor is as fascinating as it is frustrating, an oddly compelling miasma of big pop moments and empty sonic vistas that offers up a (full-size) snapshot of a band at its commerical peak, trying to establish eye contact from atop a mountain.

70
musicOMH

Reflektor is an artistic gamble from Arcade Fire; a bold statement from a band less intent on competing with their contemporaries and who, instead, focus on doing what they want to do, which this time round seems to be to dance.

70
No Ripcord

Reflektor hits too many high points to entirely consider it a failure, and despite its convoluted lyrical content and overreaching scope it still crosses the double album finish line with satisfactory results. 

70
FACT Magazine

Reflektor is the sound of an act who, almost uniformly across the album, and for the first time in their careers, are playing as a band. 

70
FasterLouder

Reflektor is the sound of a few goofballs throwing themselves a well-deserved party, present are the requisite anxieties that go hand in hand with playing host.

70
Loud and Quiet

If only Arcade Fire had eschewed self indulgence, ‘Reflektor’ could have been something very special.

70
Uncut

While the overall sound is massive, it’s become somewhat restricted in tone and texture, most tracks careering towards climaxes of cacophonous synth whines and heavy rock guitars, a narrower palette than on previous albums.

65
Under The Radar

As one record listened through end-to-end, Reflektor feels like an unnecessary sprawl. It's wildly uneven, and contains more flat-out bellyflops than any of the band's previous works; it's also endlessly fascinating. 

60
PopMatters

Reflektor doesn’t contain any actually bad songs, but the impact of a full listen is one of catchy excitement and impressive pop rock which slowly rolls downhill into the murky sonic depths of the more somber second half without any truly punctuating final moment of the record itself.

60
The Guardian

It's hard not to think that Reflektor would be a great album if Arcade Fire had chosen to scale it down a bit.

50
The Needle Drop

For every great moment on the new Arcade Fire record, there's one that falls incredibly short of whatever stylistic mark the band was shooting for. Rather than deliver another cohesive set of songs, Reflektor embarks upon a stylistic hodgepodge full of hits and misses.

40
Drowned in Sound

That whilst Reflektor isn’t without its merits, the flaws are too ingrained, the cuts in the hide too deep, to be overcome by multiple listens.

40
The Skinny

Reflektor could have been many things, but the much-trumpeted involvement of LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy results in little that is radical or daring.

40
Clash

Undercooked electronics, impotent rhetoric, too-familiar crescendo-ing structures and an overall feeling that this needs further post-production attention render ‘Reflektor’ an entirely substandard album.

30
God Is in the TV

What there is is a vast, stomach-churning, nauseating wall of effluence, boring even the most optimistic listener. Win and his cultish winners appear to have run out of anything to say.

80
It would've been easy for Arcade Fire to put out another Suburbs-esque album to please critics and fans but they decided to take a risk and make something memorable and creative. Not many bands evolve as nicely as Arcade Fire. This album is easily 2nd to Funeral if not a close tie. Great piece of art.
99
Best album of 2013 ... for the first time in 20 years something that approaches the magic of Talking Heads at their peak
InModeration
65
Reflektor is quite the enigma for me. On one hand, I do appreciate the group's attempts at incorporating some more synthesizers into their sound and further diversifying their sound palette. But I just do not think the group's shift towards dance music is a good idea. They have lost much of the artistic identity they had as a predominantly rock band. It pains me a little because there just so many flashes of brilliance throughout the tracklisting. Some tracks have really interesting ideas and ... read more
martynnay
100
So beautiful. You can hear their creativity in every single track. It's like a pure piece of art. So many emotions in one ambitious and truly amazing album.
Definitely my favourite album from 2013 and by Arcade Fire as well.
Favourite tracks: :Porno, We Exist, Normal Person, You Already Know, Afterlife
bertdrew
NR
Best Tracks - Reflektor, Afterlife
Worst Tracks - Joan Of Arc
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Track List

Disc 1

  1. Reflektor
  2. We Exist
  3. Flashbulb Eyes
  4. Here Comes the Night Time
  5. Normal Person
  6. You Already Know
  7. Joan of Arc

Disc 2

  1. Here Comes the Night Time II
  2. Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)
  3. It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
  4. Porno
  5. Afterlife
  6. Supersymmetry
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Added on: September 4, 2013