Ten years ago this week, Arcade Fire released Funeral, an album that not only transformed this once-ramshackle Montreal orchestro-rock collective into instant indie-rock icons, but forever transformed the very concept of indie rock from a fringe movement born of economic circumstance into an aspirational career model. Arriving just as the Internet’s corrosive effect on major-label hegemony was becoming apparent, Funeral showed how a fearless, fiercely committed band could take advantage of the power vacuum—in the album’s wake, "indie" became not so much an ideological rebuke to the concept of playing arenas as an alternate, service-road path to realizing it. (Not that this outcome was anticipated by the band itself; even as it was touring Funeral to sold-out concert-hall crowds well into 2005, Arcade Fire was still self-managed and stuffing its tickle-trunk array of instruments into a van.) They certainly weren’t the first emergent early-2000s act to be greeted with hyperbolic hosannas from the get-go, but more so than the Strokes or Broken Social Scene or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Franz Ferdinand, the influence of Arcade Fire continues to ripple both under and over-ground, through every upstart band you see at SXSW doing a line-check with a violin to the uppermost reaches of the Billboard Top 200.
And yet, all the ways Funeral has altered the contemporary musical landscape—from its promotion of pilgrim bible-student chic to its implicit requirement that every band now have an auxiliary floor-tom for intermittent bashing—no aspect of the album has proven as pervasive as this: