Arcade Fire’s Wilderness Downtown A Slightly Buggy Treat for HTML5 Fans

arcade fire wilderness

The Arcade Fire’s new album release has been accompanied by relatively new uses of web video; earlier this month, a live-streamed YouTube concert directed by Terry Gilliam was watched, according to Mashable, by 3.7 million viewers. And today, thanks to some help from Google Chrome, the new track We Used to Wait gets an all-HTML5 “musical experience made specifically for the browser.”

Open up http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/ in Chrome, input your childhood address and get whisked away into a musical montage set on the streets that you grew up on, accompanied by multiple windows of running figures and flying birds.

It is, on the surface, very very cool. However — and maybe it makes me a bad Internet person for saying this — but I was left unimpressed at the end. For one thing, there was bugginess on my system, despite using the biggest monitor I had available. And yes, I did use Google Chrome, but that didn’t stop a bunch of the video windows from piling up, unviewable, at the bottom left-hand side of my screen. Thus, I only got a few glimpses of the multiple windows in full action.

Also, it probably helps to have grown up in a more distinctive neighborhood than mine, which, as seen through Google Street View, was just generic suburbia.

I don’t deny that this is a cool experiment, but its limitations make it just that — a cool experiment, good for building buzz and showing off some of HTML5’s neatest tricks. Will it create new HTML5 fans? Probably. Will it create new Arcade Fire fans? Probably not.

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