Arcade Fire Member Reads Newspaper, Writes Song About Debt

24 February 2015 | 12:18 pm | Staff Writer

Will Butler will create a song a day this week, all based on Guardian headlines

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Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Will Butler is taking a page out of Bob Dylan's book by creating one song each day this week based on newspaper headlines, in a collaborative experiment with The Guardian.

As the paper itself reports, each track will be shared via SoundCloud upon completion, and with day one over, Butler has started off strongly: the first cut, Clean Monday, arrived earlier this morning (AEST), and canvasses the well-travelled realm of the Greek debt crisis, via jaunty electro-pop and lush vocal reverb.

Have a listen below.

“[The song-a-day project] was partly inspired by Bob Dylan, who used to announce that certain songs were based on headlines,” Butler explained in The Guardian. “It would be a song he wrote in two weeks or something, such as The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, which is one of the greatest songs ever. So I’ve set myself an impossible bar.”

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As for the potential well of material upon which he will be able to draw this week, Butler explained, “I’ve been reading The Guardian every day, perusing the different sections. Some of them possibly lend themselves to songs".

"It’s a cruel thing, but sometimes you read something and think, ‘Uh oh. I could make something really meaty out of that.’ Something like the Dominique Strauss-Kahn trial – my God, that’s the gnarliest story in the world, but it’s interesting. Or you might read a science headline and think, ‘The universe is so much bigger than I thought it was.’ There’s something really beautiful in that."

Butler, the brother of Arcade Fire frontman Win, is an accomplished musician in his own right, being nominated for an Oscar last year for his part in composing the score for Spike Jonze's acclaimed drama Her, and has a debut solo full-length, Policy, due out early next month via Merge Records.

You can hear a track from that forthcoming release - Take My Side - below.