Posted July 26, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes

Will Butler Releases Celebratory Single From New Solo Album

Will Butler
Will Butler

It’s been five long years since the Arcade Fire’s Will Butler released his debut album, Policy. During that time, 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 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.

He also found the time and inspiration to write and record a new album, Generations.

It comes out Sept. 25 via Merge. In advance of the album’s release, he’s released a self-directed music video for infectious first single, a singalong number called “Surrender.” The clever video features captions that speak both to the pandemic and to the recent social protests while offering a message of hope.

You can now pre-order the CD, LP, and red splatter Peak Vinyl in the Merge store or wherever records are sold.

 “’Surrender’ is masquerading as a love song, but it’s more about friendship,” says Butler in a press release. “[It’s] about the confusion that comes as people change—didn’t you use to have a different ideal? Didn’t we have the same ideal at some point? Which of us changed? How did the world change? Relationships that we sometimes wish we could let go of but that are stuck within us forever.

Butler says the songs is also about “trying to break from the first-person view of the world.”

“It’s not about some singular effort — you have to give yourself over to another power,” he says. “Give over to people who have gone before who’ve already built something — you don’t have to build something new! The world doesn’t always need a new idea, it doesn’t always need a new personality. What can you do with whatever power and money you’ve got? Surrender it over to something that’s already made. And then the song ends with an apology—I’m sorry I’ve been talking all night. Cause talking like that, man, not always useful.”

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


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].