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Now Hear This: Will Butler | Generations

The Arcade Fire member reminds us he's more than capable of going it alone.


Win Butler may get most of the glory in Arcade Fire. But younger brother Will has long been one of the band’s MVPs. And as he reminds us once again with his rewarding sophomore album Generations, he’s quite capable of holding his own and going it alone.

If you’re looking for the strummy, jittery folk-rock of his day job’s heyday — or the funkier grooves of their more recent work — you’ll find a bit of both peppered among these 10 songs. But more often, you’ll find synth-centric soul-rock tracks boasting deeper grooves, darker tones, sharper edges and a more personal, intimate perspective. He keeps this up, he might get a little glory of his own one day.



THE PRESS RELEASE: “In the five years since Will Butler released his debut album Policy, he’s toured the world both solo and as a member of Arcade Fire, released the Friday Night live album, recorded and released Arcade Fire’s international #1 album Everything Now, earned his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard, hosted a series of touring town halls on local issues (police contracts, prison reform, municipal paid sick leave, voting rights), and spent time raising his three children.

“My first record Policy was a book of short stories,” Butler says. “Generations is more of a novel — despairing, funny, a little bit epic … A big chunk of this record is asking: What’s my place in American history? What’s my place in America’s present? Both in general — as a participant, as we all are, in the shit that’s going down—but, also extremely particularly: me as Will Butler, rich person, white person, Mormon, Yankee, parent, musician of some sort, I guess. What do I do? What can I do? The record asks that question over and over, even if it’s not much for answers.”

Generations was recorded and produced by Butler in the basement of his home in Brooklyn. Tracking finished in March 2020, as New York closed down for the pandemic. Half the record was mixed in Montreal by longtime Arcade Fire engineer Mark Lawson, the other half by Brooklyn-based producer Shiftee.”