Who Is Arcade Fire?!

Being college students, we sometimes forget that an entire world exists outside of our social and academic bubble. So last week, when Arcade Fire’s 2010 album “The Suburbs” won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, most of us at UC Irvine merely nodded our heads respectfully and went on with our lives.

This was not the case with many other people outside our college-minded bubble. Taking a cue from the recent popularity of the indie rock genre, this year’s Grammy Awards surprised and stunned many an avid music-listener who had never even heard of the band by choosing Arcade Fire over Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. It was these people, the oblivious masses, who flooded Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and the larger blogosphere with feverish howls of disappointment, anger, confusion and sometimes even fear.

These outcries took different forms, but most chose to tweet out their frustration, using 140-character blurbs to make such poignant remarks as, “Who in the hell were those suburbs ppl that won album of the year???? Omg really??? I’m pissed!”

Among all of the expletive-heavy grievances, many were actually genuinely confused, generating such tweets as, “what the heck is a r k fire?” and, “The grammy people have lost their mind … who are the Suburbs and how in the heck did they win album of the year … smh.” Another simply wanted to know what “arcade fries” were. Honorary mentions must be given to Rosie O’Donnell, who tweeted “album of the year? ummm never heard of them ever,” and Dog the Bounty Hunter, who responded to the band’s victory with “Who the he’ll is that Fire who?” Tweeting under the persona of a collective of Fall Out Boy fans, one tweet distilled the Internet’s frustration into a gracious quip: “i’m sorry it should have won the stupid name award.” Burn.

Others weren’t oblivious to the existence of Arcade Fire but questioned the merit of the band winning the coveted prize; among these responses came a tweet that will live in infamy, a proclamation that simply read: “Who is Arcade Fire?! Compared to Gaga … no one.” Another: “LOL EMINEM GOT ROBBED.”

Such were the circumstances surrounding the creation of “Who Is Arcade Fire??!!?” a Tumblr account that reposts screenshots of bewilderment, rage, ignorance and hilarity from various Internet outlets concerning Arcade Fire’s unexpected feat. This microblog quickly became a catch-all for Suburbs-related consternation, a meme that culminated not only in furious tweets and Facebook status updates but in video form as well. Among the more refined and well-made selections was a short by Youtube channel Funemployed Chicago, whose video “Arcade Fire Hipster Attack” featured hipsters who surprise-attack ignorant people unaware of Arcade Fire’s existence. An on-screen warning to “know who Arcade Fire is or hipsters will kill you,” raises much hilarity as well. Another user, Jonathan Mann, uploaded an original song titled “Who the Hell Is Arcade Fire?” that quoted tweets as lyrics before explaining exactly who Arcade Fire is.

As Mann’s song explains, Arcade Fire isn’t the “nobody” that Twitter makes it out to be. This Montreal-based group has been around since 2003; their 2004 album “Funeral” gained critical attention and has since become an indie rock classic (if such a thing could be said to exist). Since the now-award winning album “The Suburbs” was released, it has graced the top of the Billboard 200 as well as numerous other charts and has received critical acclaim (including – gasp – winning Album of the Year at this year’s Grammy Awards). “Wake Up,” a song off their 2004 premiere, was featured in the trailer for Spike Jonze’s 2009 film “Where the Wild Things Are.” Jonze went on to direct the music video for the title track off “The Suburbs.”

They are by no means a no-name band, and by the intensely favorable critical reception garnered by their latest album, it seems we will be hearing their name and their music for a long time to come – perhaps someday the tweets will read “LOL Arcade Fire got robbed!” In the meantime though, we should all sit back and enjoy a listening of “The Suburbs” while munching on some arcade fries.