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MTV and shallow consumerism are among the pop-culture excesses that lead the singer to question America's soul ("Windowsill"). Christians can agree with the cryptic line, "I live in an age that calls darkness light" ("My Body Is a Cage"). Songs commiserate with a hurting man dependent on someone's support ("The Well and the Lighthouse") and long for a simpler way of life ("No Cars Go"). "Antichrist Television Blues" vilifies an ambitious father for spiritualizing the decision to push his 13-year-old daughter into showbiz. The vague title track might be referring to an idolatrous false light destined to fade or ...
The "Neon Bible" could come across as a litany of the church's failures. That would seem to jive with "Intervention," a cynical, organ-backed condemnation of the harm caused by an "unhealthy" devotion to organized religion. Overall, melancholy paranoia is the norm.
With an ELO, rock-opera vibe and a few Springsteen-esque vocals, Arcade Fire relies heavily on poetic, often biblical imagery that's wide open to interpretation. While not deeply objectionable, Neon Bible won't change the world for the better either, mainly because its critical rants throw the baby out with the bath water.