We've entered into a time of remembering. Welcome aboard.
In 2004, we endured life of a struggling attempt to live in neighborhoods, where in 2007 things got political in a dark, operatic daze. As we get older, we reminisce; we attempt to find ourselves in a past of forgotten events. Our memories seek to escape to torture our outgrown selves, as Arcade Fire's frontman Win Butler makes it clear during his era of indie domination with the increasingly popular band's third installment, The Suburbs.
I hate hype, but I love anticipation. Arcade Fire has enjoyed a reign at the top for quite some time, and as news was speculated that their newest album The Suburbs would be released this year, flannel-wearing yippies awaited for their own Christmas Day. Oh, and what a glorious day it was.
The Arcade Fire has defined themselves with the ability to never repeat their sound. The album begins with a jolt beat of the title track with bouncing sounds of piano and acoustic guitar. Butler returns to life in the suburbs, only older, but trying to escape the memories they hold. Things sharpen up in “Ready to Start” with a bold bass riff and lyrics facing perhaps a devastating relationship. However, he begins throwing hatred towards big business (“Businessmen drink my blood / Like the kids in art school said they would”); maybe it’s a slab against the music industry’s reputation of “owning” music. The album changes its tone, with the gentle folk-rock rhythms of “Modern Man” and “Wasted Hours,” to the welcoming string-based bashing of the pretentious in “Rococo.” “City with No Children” and “Half Light I/II (No Celebration)” continue the theme of continuous reminiscing of the wasted years of the past with their haunting organ chords, echoing guitars and rapturous drum beats. “Month of May” holds as simple-riffed attempt to create a slash of powerful punk rock attitude, as “We Used to Wait” follows this theme with a constant piano chord leading into a giant goosebump initiator as Butler yells, “Oooh, we used to wait.”
The album’s most powerful parts come from “Sprawl I (Flatland)” as Butler sings in an eerie, depressing tense as he returns to the place of his young livelihood. Butler’s wife and fellow band member, Régine Chassagne replies in the upbeat “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” in which the drum machine holds a certain blast of creative catchy rhythm. “Suburban War” serves as the hidden highlight of the album. It obtains the sadness of Butler’s past as he discusses the life of a long-lost friend, the life of young living, and the amount of freedom that always comes to an end. They lose touch as he tells the depressing story (“Now the cities we live in could be distant stars / I searched for you in every passing car”), in which we can all relate to at some point in our lives. The song escalates into a traumatic musical arrangement with Butler screaming, (“All my old friends, they don’t know me now”) and then comes to an end.
The Suburbs is a 16-song epic journey that brings us back to the world of wasted time that touches the hearts and creates chills throughout. However, Arcade Fire’s immense amount of fame isn't for everyone; I've heard many times before of those who do not feel the love of Arcade Fire. However, this album is one of 2010’s finest that truly relates the music to the listener with honest lyrics of never-forgotten past. Arcade Fire has this originality that no band can touch and I ask those who are all skeptical to simply give this record a chance. For a band that has received highly respectable recognition by music legend David Bowie, how could you go wrong? The Suburbs is a self-loathing tale that will give different reactions to all, but you’ll just have to attempt it for yourself to fully understand what power it can hold.