Note to musicians guesting in "Saturday Night Live" digital shorts: If you're going to follow Rihanna's Shy Ronnie, pray the "SNL" gods are writing you Seinfeld-level gold. It seems like it'd be easy to script a gag for an eight-person band (and it's been done), but Arcade Fire were reduced to bit players ripping their shirts open as Andy Samberg screamed about world events during the aptly titled "What Was That?" this weekend. The moment ranked as slightly more successful than a crappy send-up of Kanye West's feud with George W. Bush on Weekend Update, but less amusing than a brief appearance by "Ke$ha" (who either is Drew Barrymore, or needs to be played by Drew Barrymore) during Scarlett Johansson's monologue.
Song 1: "We Used To Wait"
-7 for crappy sound (note: not the band's fault). Richard Reed Parry's guitar -- which provides the key off-beat rhythm of the song -- was barely audible
+6 for Win Butler's sudden and kind of scary leap offstage and into the camera and seemingly spontaneous journey into the audience (the cameramen and the guy whose chair Butler stepped onto certainly seemed surprised)
-1 for Butler's even more frightening microphone-wielding. Good thing there wasn't a dude with a basketball wandering around ...
+1 for the lack of "antics" during the performance -- it's awesome to see the band has learned to channel its cavorting and bashing into something far more mature: real musical intensity.
Song 2: "Sprawl II"
+3 for giving Régine Chassagne a chance to front the band on national TV
-6 for picking one of the hardest-to-sing tracks on "The Suburbs," giving Chassagne a pretty difficult feat
+5 for Chassagne's "Dancing With the Stars"-inspired gold dress and the band's LED outfits (Ke$ha would have been proud!)
+2 for inviting Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner to perform (check him out in the upper right part of the screen)
-8 for the streamers Chassagne broke out for the last bit of the song (but Ke$ha would have been proud)
-4 for ripping their shirts open during the digital short. You are not yet forgiven, Arcade Fire.
Final GPA: B+
- Andy Samberg
- Drew Barrymore