Describing music as ‘stadium-friendly’ comes with a lot of baggage these days. Time was, it was a mark of a band that had worked their way up to epic status, slogging it out in the smaller, grimier venues for years before, having paid their dues, graduating to filling arenas. But now, in the age of Tweeting and Gawking and Redditing (is that the right verb? I try to avoid Reddit if at all possible), where everybody’s motives are second, third and fourth-guessed into oblivion, to the point where it’s practically impossible to do anything with genuine intentions without an accompanying protective layer of self-deprecation, it feels more like a cynical move by musicians whose sound is demonstrably not stadium-friendly, but who are either forcing it onto a bigger stage to recoup some of the money lost through flatlining album sales, or deciding ‘hey, it’s time to do the stadium album’ and hiring an extra guitarist, whacking up the gain and playing the same old shit at twice the volume.
Which is all a very roundabout and tangent-y way of saying that this song should be played in a stadium.
Well, either that or the biggest festival stage you can find, preferably in the pissing rain, when you’re covered head to foot in mud, with some form of intoxication bubbling inside your belly and your brain, and a bunch of friends wobbling around you. The thudding, propulsive 4/4 beat and driving bassline are the stuff of straight-up raving, but the epic reverberating guitars, the xylophones, the massive chorus, the sort-of-Thom-Yorkey-but-not-in-a-derivative-way vocal stylings of the lead singer and the hands-in-the-air outro are the stuff of post-fireworks Sunday nights at Glastonbury. It’s unashamedly melodramatic and big, and despite its very up-to-date production and arrangement, it’s defiantly old-fashioned. It doesn’t belong in 2013. And on another day I might decide that that is reason enough to condemn it.
But today, it is a reason to celebrate it.
Check back here in a couple of hours when I change my mind.