Solo album inspires criticism

Important music, the kind that inspires and excites listeners, isn’t easily achieved.

“Policy,” the first solo album by Arcade Fire’s Will Butler, brother of frontman Win Butler, is trying very hard to be important music.

It’s an album that wants to be seen as a statement on the state of music – the album is described in its press release as “American music — in the tradition of The Violent Femmes, The Breeders, The Modern Lovers, Bob Dylan, Smokey Robinson, The Magnetic Fields [and] Ghostface Killah.”

It doesn’t succeed. However, much like Arcade Fire’s music, there are enough interesting ideas here that it doesn’t really matter.

The 28-minute LP kicks off with “Take My Side,” a rollicking good time of a track, which harkens back to the clumsy rage of “The Suburbs.”

It may be the best track on “Policy,” just because it takes itself the least seriously. Lead single “Anna” is a groovy, lightweight synth jam that gets bogged down with big ideas.

Butler repeatedly sings “money money money money” over and over again for some reason.

“Finish What I Started” is a sweet, Neil Young-esque ballad that ends too soon. “Son of God” is another attempt at being a statement more than being a song.

When Butler awkwardly shouts “Some of this shit’s getting pretty old,” and then follows with “still you don’t believe me,” you can’t help but lightly nod your head.

Songs like “Something’s Coming” and “What I Want” are just not good. “I will buy you a pony, we can cook it for supper, I know a great recipe for pony macaroni” is are real lyrics found on this album.

Then a song like “Sing to Me” comes along, a somber piano ballad that recalls “Neighborhood #4” in its simple sweetness, and you remember why you cared about this album in the first place.

Butler is capable of creating beautiful, awe-inspiring, important music.

While “Policy” isn’t that, it is comforting nonetheless to be shown that these people still love making music as much as we like listening to it.