Now there are two potential downsides to watching the new Arcade Fire video for their new single We Used To Wait. The first is that you are recommended to install Google Chrome if you do not possess it, as the video is built using new HTML 5 technology. The second is that you will not be able to view it here so I will have to link you off-site (whether that’s a downside or not is upto you though I guess).
If you don’t know what HTML 5 is then I will try and define it as succinctly as I can. HTML 5 is a new revision of the coding standards that many designers use to create websites, and this new revision will bring along with it a lot of new “features”. These include geolocation, document editing, drag and drop facilities plus many others. The groups leading the charge behind HTML hope that this will revolutionise the way that we interact with online content.
One of the cronies at Arcade Fire’s record label must have suggested to the band about jumping on this HTML 5 bandwagon early, so that they could be one of the first artists in the music industry to take advantage of its new features whilst also writing themselves into web folklore.
Since we can’t watch it here together, as it were, I will walk through my own experiences of the new video.
While I was able to pickup on the underlying themes and ideas that this “video” was trying to promote, the execution of it just didn’t do it for me. Maybe at this point you should go check it out for yourselves so that I won’t taint your own opinions too much.
I found the whole experience quite disorientating, and can only liken it to finding yourself on a cheap file download website where you are peppered with annoying pop-ups every five seconds.
At the very start of the journey you are asked to put in your hometown, so that they can integrate visuals of where you used to grow up. Looking back in hindsight, maybe I should have lied at that point, because the images that they came back with didn’t exactly bring back great memories.
My two hometown videos included: a side view of my (then) local Harvester restaurant, and the front end of a white builders van. Not quite the picturesque scenery that the web designers had in mind I would presume.
Part of the interactivity also included “writing a letter of advice to the younger you”. I must have still been reeling from the shock of being reminded about exactly where I grew up, as the only recommendation I could conjure up was “get out of there while you still can”. Not exactly poetic.
Whilst I admire the band for trying something new, my experience with the video was nothing short of horrific but maybe that was the fault of Upper Norwood and not Arcade Fire. If you have returned from watching it yourself, how was it for you?