My failed 33 1/3 pitch

20 Feb

Recently Continuum Books 33 1/3 series had open submissions to find writers for it’s next set of books. So although I was massively unprepared and without any real chance I threw my hat into the ring. Alas, I didn’t make the shortlist, but i figured I’d share this.

Proposal for 33 1/3

Subject: the Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

On February 10th 2007 a senator from Illinois announced his candidacy for the seat of President of the United States of America, less the one month later a band from Canada released an album that would serve as the undercurrent soundtrack of that campaign. My proposal is simply put, the Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible is quintessentially an American Record that calls upon the people to open their eyes to the world that is around them which hearkens back to the socially aware album of the past. Helmed by an ex-pat who found a home in Montreal, who wrote most of the album from an outsiders view of his home country while decompressing from a tour through his beleaguered home, Neon Bible is a bursting at the seems with Americana, themes that resonate throughout the album hearken back to the music of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Neil Young. Furthermore the bands decision to show their support for the candidate from Illinois Barack Obama by playing a series of benefit concerts on behalf of his campaign displays their support for the campaign by using their art for a purpose. “Inclusion Rock” has been used when discussing the band, a way of saying the band music deconstructs the wall that stands between the artist and the masses it tries to reach, by exploring this idea I would conduct first person discussions with those whom were inspired by the album would be included in the narrative (I will expound on this later).

Now, how to go about exploring this? My goal would be to place the album in a historical context by comparing it to albums of the past that were influential to the political process through the following steps.

  • A detailed decompression of the albums songs, and how they fit into the themes, I have previously stated would occur as a framing device for each chapter, which would allow me to segue into the larger picture of the narrative.

  • By expounding on it’s impact with those who witnessed first hand it’s affects on the Campaign. Interviews with the band would be requested, along with those who helped organize the events that the band played.

  • Interviews conducted with various members of the fan community that has sprung up around the band.

  • The idea that the album helped spark an awakening movement amongst it’s listeners which lead to awakening from the discontent of the past few years.

  • Show how the album served as a sort of “signal” to those who had been downtrodden by the “culture war” that their time to resurface was “now”

  • Personal anecdotes that stem from my work on the campaign and how the a;bum affected it

  • Reassertion of how the album links up to past albums, and how they played a role in the making of the album.

As to viability of this record’s influence on the masses, I can simply state the statistics. When the album debuted on March 10, 2006 it landed at number 2 on the US and UK Charts, while taking number 1 in Canada. Their supporting tour for the album had the distinction of selling out shows,in mere minutes, a video of the album’s title track posted on the Le Blogotheque video blog has 800,000 plus views, while their pop culture influence reached even the NFL Super Bowl where a excerpt of the album’s “No Cars Go” was played during the climatic returning from commercial sequence before the last minute of the game. And just a month ago the a selection from the album titled “My Body is a Cage” was used in trailers for the Brad Pitt vehicle “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, while recently the band announced plans to release a 70-minute film entitled Mirror Noir which documents the band’s tour in support of the album. The album found itself on may a reputed publications best of 2007 list including Q, and The Onion’s A.V. Club where it found itself at number 1, while Blender, Billboard, and Spin all placed the album at number 2 on their list.

In short, I feel that this is an idea that could be expounded on, catch the attention of it’s intended audience, and clearly define the album’s place in history in context with it’s influence on the campaign.

So yeah, there it was. They went with another pitch for the same band, which I can’t blame them for, after all I threw this together the day of the deadline.

One Response to “My failed 33 1/3 pitch”


  1. Little People « Perfect Lines - February 22, 2009

    […] The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible […]

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