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8.17.2010

The Suburbs

Buy this album!


See it? Go buy it! iTunes, Amazon, Walmart - whatever! Just go buy it. It's great.

Okay, okay. Not everyone's going to like it, obviously. There's no music that everyone likes. Not even all Arcade Fire fans love this album. But I do. All I can do is share my opinion, right?

On my first listen, I liked about half the songs on the album. Indeed, there are some slower, more subtle songs that take a few concentrated listens to "get" but when I did, they became some of my favourites. The only song on the album that I don't absolutely love is "Rococo"  though it is by no means a bad song.

Funeral was a picture of childhood. Neon Bible went off in a different direction with a bemoaning look at current events. The Suburbs seems like the true successor to Funeral. The Suburbs is about the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

The opening lyric "In the suburbs I learned to drive..." recalls a similar imagery used in the song "In the Backseat" from Funeral: "I've been learning to drive my whole life." There are all kinds of hints that in The Suburbs we're no longer children, but neither are we grown-ups yet. The themes of transition, longing, and uncertainty are most prevalent in the songs "Ready to Start," "Empty Room," and "Sprawl I." About half the album is seen from the perspective of the adolescent while the other half is an adult looking back at his youth as in the songs "The Suburbs," "City With No Children," and "Suburban War."

When I first heard the name of the new Arcade Fire album, I thought to myself, "well that's perfect." Having grown up a suburban kid all my life, this album really speaks to me. Not only that, but the music is fantastic. Although it's nothing new for the band, there's a lot of really beautiful strings used on the album. What's more surprising is the amount of electronic influence evident in songs like "We Used to Wait" and especially "Sprawl II" which has an 80s vibe (surprisingly that's a good thing.)

For Arcade Fire fans' reference: this album is right up there with Funeral. And remember, Funeral was my second-favourite album of the 2000s. For everyone else's reference: this is simply one of the best albums I've ever heard in my life... at least right now. I've been listening for two weeks which is generally the time it takes for me to form a lasing impression.


Though I can't explain exactly why, The Suburbs is sometimes so stunningly beautiful that it makes me want to cry. This is great art.