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Win Butler of Arcade Fire on Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Atlantic City’

“You hear the first couple of notes [of the ‘Nebraska’ album}, and you are right in this world,” says Arcade Fire band member

Nebraska was my entry, how I got into Bruce. That was the easiest one to spend time with, because it was so bare and so direct. And the storytelling is so interesting. The song “Nebraska” — you hear the first couple of notes, and you are right in this world.

Our [2004] album, Funeral, was not exactly the record you want to put on at any minute of the day. It takes a certain amount of engagement to make a connection with it. In a way, it’s like Born to Run, which demands something of you. Whereas Nebraska – it can be on in the background, and it sucks you in. It’s not asking for your complete attention. There is not this huge band hammering in your face. It can sneak up on you.

“Atlantic City” has a hook. The pop aspect to it backs up the storytelling. You find yourself humming that song all the time. And that is the connection point. And there are these little details in that song that you don’t hear in a pop song: “Put on your stockings, baby, ’cause the night is getting cold.” But it’s got this incredible hook to it.

There are certain limitations to rock & roll, the sounds you can make. But there are an infinite number of stories. This record is about storytelling and using music to heighten the story.

This originally appeared in the 100 Greatest Bruce Springsteen Songs of All Time list

In This Article: Bruce Springsteen, Win Butler

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