Anyone who knows me well knows I’ve got quite a thing for the band Arcade Fire. I’m a big fan. Maybe I’m not a super fan. I don’t have any Arcade Fire tattoos and I haven’t gone farther than 5 hours (by car) to see them (though I sure would if given the opportunity and cash). But I’m a big enough fan that I make sure to see them on tour and maybe we did drive the four hours to Chicago (on a school night/work night) to see Win Butler DJ at a club and maybe I check all the twitter feeds and Facebook news and tumblr pieces every day. Multiple times. And I get really excited about new music and interviews and, well, anything.
I love them.
I put them in a book I wrote. Not as characters. They don’t have lines. But they do play a show and one of the characters is obsessed with them in the way I’m obsessed with them. I figure this is cool. Plenty of the books I read (YA or otherwise) mention bands and love of bands and identification with musicians. Even Franzen. And music and our music tastes define us in very specific ways. What we love shares about who we are. Are you a girl that loves country or a girl that loves emo? The poster on your wall–is it Gerard Way or Rihanna? Not that you can’t love both and all, but most of you won’t or don’t. Most of you out there know your people by the band shirts they wear and the playlist on their phone. My 8th grade boyfriend told me his favorite band was Heart. As a worshipper of the Violent Femmes, I knew our relationship was doomed.
I try not be weird about my love for Arcade Fire and my somewhat giant crush on the lead singer. Does it help that his wife–fellow bandmate, Regine–is also on my list of the most awesome people I don’t know in real life? I wouldn’t want them to break up. But also, man. It’s a fantasy so it’s okay. Because I’m happily married and I have a kid and I live in Iowa and couldn’t even play one note on the piano. But I love him. I love them. I love them in that big way you love things that speak to you and keep you company through this life. Members of the same tribe, even though you might never meet, might never have a conversation. You feel understood and you feel lifted out of the mundane and the mediocre and even the terrible. Art helps us live better lives. Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, William Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Jeremy Gara, and Tim Kingsbury make stuff that makes me happy. They make stuff that gives me meaning. They connect me with the universe.
They have a new album coming out. Finally! And a new song. I love it. Of course I do. Now I’m watching streaming of concerts happening in Europe, more obsessively checking all the things, and feeling that feeling I always get when this happens. That feeling of wanting to be part of it all and yet so far removed. Excited for the songs and the videos and news, but sad that I don’t really know them. I’m not invited to the party. I only get to see the pictures. Is that called bittersweetness?