Dia de los Muertos

by lizard

O dia de los muertos, how I love you! Every year I’m impressed with the turnout of Missoula’s Day of the Dead festivities, because acknowledging death isn’t something American culture is generally good at doing, and Missoula does it so beautifully!


I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. It’s hard to escape the existential dread made palpable by events like Fukushima, a disaster we should be hearing more about this month as workers prepare to remove the spent fuel rods in reactor 4.

Death—or at least a greek myth that deals with death—plays a prominent role in Arcade Fire’s new album, Reflector. I’m kind of cringing quoting a Time review, but what the hell, here it is:

Arcade Fire is known for music and lyrics that make listeners think, drawing on deep ideas expressed in multiple languages. Their new album Reflektor, out today, is no exception. It’s already been getting lots of attention for its Haitian influences — but there’s another obvious source of inspiration that the band highlights on the album. Two songs, “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” and “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus),” reference the Orpheus myth. The album’s cover art is a close-up of Auguste Rodin’s 1893 sculpture “Orpheus and Eurydice,” currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition, a full-album teaser video the band released in advance of the record dropping juxtaposed the album’s lyrics and images from the 1959 film Black Orpheus.

That Time piece has a decent breakdown of the Orpheus myth, for anyone interested, but if you really want to experience it, listen to the album. Here’s a taste:

And just because, a Nick Cave bonus track:

I haven’t read too many good reviews of Reflektor. After winning a Grammy for The Suburbs, expectations for this album were immense. For those fans who didn’t abandon the band after their first album (I’m looking at you, hipsters who can’t like anything that non-hipsters start liking) I think this album will provide sublime moments of unfiltered joy.

Maybe my expectations are too low. Hell, I’m just happy to be alive another day.

  1. JC

    Colbert did an “interesting” iinterview with the Butlers, followed by couple of songs. Good stuff!

    But in following with your post’s theme, AC did a great video for the song “Afterlife” from Reflektor, replaying the Orpheus and Eurydice myth:

    • JC

      Ok, I kinda had a remembery that I had once upon a time seen the movie that Arcade Fire took clips from for “Afterlife” so I had to go find it. So thanks for sending me tangential Liz, as I’ll probably spend the afternoon watching Michel Camus’ 1959 Orpheu Negro (Black Orpheus), filmed in Rio. Here it is in full length (for some reason I can’t get the audio working in Safari, so I had to use Chrome — go figure):

      Great way to finish off Dia de los Muertos!

      • lizard19

        interesting, and you’re welcome ;)

      • Thanks for the link to the movie. It’s almost two hours long. Great quality. My wife and I will hook it up to the TV and watch the whole thing tomorrow. She was only 12 when it came out and I was 20. Though we were both aware of it, neither of us ever saw it. It played in the U.S. in art houses and repertory theaters. It has English subtitles..

  2. Doesn’t anyone at 4&20 ever cover Mad Max Lenington, the county assessor and superintendent of schools in Yellowstone County?

    He epitomizes all that is wrong with the Republican party, especially the Big Sky version. Racist, homophobic, red baiting.

    I’m surprised he isn’t running for Congress. All those seem to be qualifications for office.

    Max may get recalled over his most recent racist remarks, but, given his position, I wonder if he didn’t do something illegal when he spent time dickering on the county dime for a motorcycle from Iowa. Was he dodging taxes on it?

    • lizard19

      sorry, in the two days since I first heard about another racist asshole republican holding public office in Montana, I’ve had other things on my mind.

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