Funeral is the debut full-length album by Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire, released on September 14, 2004 in North America by Merge Records and on February 28, 2005 in Europe by Rough Trade Records. It was given its title because several band members had recently lost members of their families: Régine Chassagne's grandmother died in June 2003, Win and William Butler's grandfather (swing musician Alvino Rey) in March 2004, and Richard Reed Parry's aunt in April 2004.
Preliminary recordings for Funeral were made during the course of a week in August 2003 at the Hotel2Tango in Montreal, Quebec, and the recording was completed later that year.
The album produced 5 singles. The most successful, "Rebellion (Lies)", peaked at #19 on the UK Singles Chart. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2005 for Best Alternative Music Album. It received wide critical acclaim and topped many year-end lists. It was ranked eighth in Bob Mersereau's 2007 book The Top 100 Canadian Albums, and #2 on Pitchfork's 200 Top Albums of the 2000s
Initial critical response to Funeral was very positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 90, based on 30 reviews. Allmusic reviewer James Christopher Monger gave the album a rating of four and a half stars out of five. He described it as "brave, empowering, and dusted with something that many of the indie-rock genre's more contrived acts desperately lack: an element of real danger." Rock critic Robert Christgau gave the album an A-, saying that Funeral was "...too fond of drama, but aware of its small place in the big world, and usually beautiful." Pitchfork Media ranked the album #2 on their Top 200 Albums of the 2000s list, after Radiohead's Kid A.
Drowned in Sound also highly praised Funeral. Reviewer Jesus Chigley called the album "...empowering and hopeful and euphoric all at once", saying that "it says everything there is to say about mortality and it does it in 10 tracks." Stylus's Josh Drimmer gave Funeral an A, calling it "celebratory, emotionally rich and life-affirming" Dave Simpson of The Guardian called it "one of the year's best already, by a mile." Zeth Lundy of PopMatters complimented Funeral on its eccentricity, calling it "bizarre at turns and recognizable elsewhere, equally beautiful and harrowing, theatrical and sincere, defying categorization while attempting to create new genres.