Will Butler (of Arcade Fire) Shares Video for New Song “Bethlehem” | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, September 20th, 2020  

Will Butler (of Arcade Fire) Shares Video for New Song “Bethlehem”

Generations Due Out September 25 via Merge

Sep 16, 2020
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Will Butler from Arcade Fire is releasing a new solo album, Generations, on September 25 via Merge. Now he has shared another song from it, “Bethlehem,” via a video for the track that features Butler preparing a feast. Butler co-directed the video with Adrienne Anderson. Watch it below. 

Butler had this to say about the song in a press release: “This song partly springs from ‘The Second Coming’ by William Butler Yeats:​ ‘what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?’ Like a lot of folks, I woke up after the election in 2016 mad and sad and scared and exhausted. This song is born of that emotion. 

“My bandmates Jenny Shore, Julie Shore, and Sara Dobbs sing the bridge, and it’s a corrective to my (appropriate?) freaking out—this isn’t the apocalypse. You’re misquoting Yeats. Get your fucking head on straight. History has not ruptured—this shit we’re in is contiguous with the shit we’ve been dealing with for a long, long time. But still, we sometimes do need an apocalyptic vision to make change. Even if it’s technically wrong. I dunno. It’s an ongoing conversation.” 

Previously Butler shared Generations’ first single, “Surrender,” via a self-directed video that commented on the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, and also to call for police and prison reform, via subtitles. “Surrender” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then Butler shared another song from Generations, “Close My Eyes,” via a video for the track that features Butler in a rowboat built by his grandfather. 

Butler released his debut solo album, Policy, in 2015, and put out a live album, Friday Night, in 2016, both via Merge. Butler produced Generations, recording it in his basement studio in Brooklyn. The album was mixed in two parts, in Montreal by longtime Arcade Fire engineer Mark Lawson and with Brooklyn-based producer Shiftee mixing the other half. 

Also read our 2015 interview with Butler about Policy. And read our review of Friday Night.

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