The Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (Cover Artwork)

The Arcade Fire

The Arcade Fire: The SuburbsThe Suburbs (2010)
Merge Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: yummygrassyummygrass
(others by this writer | submit your own)

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.
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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, RĂ©gine 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.


People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimBad Religion - The Dissent of ManThe Lawrence Arms - MetropoleThe Flatliners - CavalcadeFake Problems - Real Ghosts Caught on Tape

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
lovethatjoker (October 31, 2010)

If Funeral was Star Wars and the darker Neon Bible was The Empire Strikes Back, then The Suburbs is definitely Return of the Jedi. Meaning it's a return to the lighter, more anthemic roots of the debut, and is by all accounts a satisfying Part 3, but definitely not up the high bar set by the first two installments.
Sprawl II, Rococo, and Half Light II are all works of pop genius, though.

d_boons_ghost (October 31, 2010)

Arcade Fire is on Merge. That's punk enough for me. The rest of you can fuck off.

TSOL (October 30, 2010)

@commentbelow: arcade fire is not punk, so the fact there is shittalk about 'real' punks is not relevant. would like to think punknews is more than just narrowminded teenagers/ adults that never grew up who pigeonhole their music tastes in a genre (punk) that is full of so many shitty mediocre bands

FaithIsForFools (October 29, 2010)

This is gay as shit.

Really? I'm not saying "don't review garbage like this", because people can listen to shit outside of punk, but so many of you come onto this site (PUNKnews, mind you), and talk shit about so many real fucking punk bands, then jerk off to this garbage?


mikeinflames (October 29, 2010)

Loved this album when I first heard it. But now each time I listen to it I like it less and less. Not that it's bad. I just find it boring.

slymer (October 29, 2010)

yep this is definitely their weakest album

greg0rb (October 28, 2010)

I love these guys. That said, this is definitely their weakest album, though it is still good. Someone down there said they miss the passion of Funeral or something, and I agree. Where's they yelping, Win?! Not that's it's all ballads but him singing so mellow and in his low range takes the fire out of it. Probably will still make my 20 though but probably not top 10.

chrisgrivet (October 28, 2010)

This album is amazing. Best of 2010.

Scully (October 27, 2010)

Each album gets worse. I've listend to it 6 times and it's a chore to listen to.

MN_DrNick (October 27, 2010)

joeg said it best earlier.

Babrook (October 27, 2010)

Fucking great album. One of my favorites of the year.

damnitsderek (October 27, 2010)

Arcade Fire=Massively overrated. I'll give this a listen, but I stand by my opinion.

coldwaraaron (October 26, 2010)

this was pretty good for about a month

twointhesame (October 26, 2010)

Great album, but no Funeral, or even Neon Bible.

that_band_changed_my_life (October 26, 2010)


HappyPillow (October 26, 2010)

joeg sounds more pretentious then the word pretentious itself.

alpod4 (October 26, 2010)

Sprawl II is the best song, Lady gaga style.

kidgotham (October 26, 2010)

Part of me really likes this record, but most of me misses the passion that Funeral had. Five years from now, I may love this to death, but I kinda doubt it.

drunkwithpower (October 26, 2010)

I really think this record is insanely boring. It makes me a bit angry when I hear it.

colin (October 26, 2010)

i couldn't get into this band really until this album, but holy fuck, this is near perfection.

"suburban war" is one of the standouts of the year.

joeg (October 26, 2010)

I'm going to get together 10 of my closest friends and have them learn to play the conga drums, the obo, a piccolo, the double neck guitjo, a casio synthesizer, a whistle, my 20 year old pots and pans, a recycled coke can and guitar. i'm going to sing in operatic and mezzo-soprano tones about my tears from past lost lovers gone by. We're going to call ourselves The Colossus Heaven, and we'll hope to have someone review our record not from Pitchfork using words like epic journey, rapturous drum beats, and traumatic musical arrangements. Then we'll tour the world, make hundreds of dollars, drown ourselves in groupies, and call it a day.

Problematiclogic (October 26, 2010)

Brilliant album. Everyone should at least give it a shot, I doubt you'll be disappointed.

ffwoodycooks (October 26, 2010)

i cant get into these guys
but i keep trying because Mattramone always talks about how much he loves them

Spooky (October 26, 2010)

Great band, great album as expected.

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