I trust we all know who the band is by now, but the particular nuance of selecting an Arcade Fire song on the Ultimate Playlist is a challenge. This song skips over the best album and, in fact, their best songs. And I’m sure at least one of those will make an appearance here someday. It’s the balance of wonder and terror and percussive propulsion make this a very easy pick.
“No Cars Go” did first appear on the Arcade Fire EP, the very first official release from Arcade Fire. The initial version of the song almost sounds as a demo, a slowed-down, bare-bones version of the thing off Neon Bible. It is, of course, that version which is added to the Playlist. Increased tempo hints at urgency and desperation, orchestration and production (especially the bass and drums) are warm and familiar. The repeated lyric that “We know a place” only lends to the comfortable confines, all the while pushing out into the unknown (that place where cars don’t go, after all). It’s a fascinating blend of exploration and certainty, almost soul-searching set to a soundtrack.