Two of the albums that I listened to over & over again while away on my trip to Europe were Arcade Fire’s two albums Neon Bible & Funeral so it comes as no surprise that when I heard the new album The Suburbs was coming out I was elated. I knew it would be a good album, but I had no idea it would be this good. While not as good as Funeral it is miles better than Neon Bible, an album I love. The Suburbs has a Springsteen feel to it & Bruce is an avowed fan (most likely the reason I fell into them).
The new album is rife with experimental or rarely used instruments but it’s songs like “Modern man” that stand out to me as good old fashioned rockers. While bands like The Killers & Muse do their best to get their music out to the masses, Arcade Fire does not rush out to complete his albums on a yearly clip as many others. Now, though is where it all gets so pretentious. The people touting the brilliance of Arcade Fire (which is a true statement) will become unbearable.
There is a fine line people, let’s not turn this beautiful music making machine into a pariah for doing nothing more than making the best music of a generation. I once got into a pseudo online feud about Josh Ritter being the best songwriter of a generation. A point I disputed & what went from a mere point of contention or a polite conversation on what defines the “greatest songwriter” designation turned into something that got ugly quickly due to dedicated readers. The point is I was remiss in not bringing Win Butler into the discussion.
But Matty D you just warned against hyperbolic statements about Arcade Fire & you’re now doing just that, what gives? The reality is there, I’m not trying to cram it down your throat. It’s there for you to hear it if you’re so inclined, but it isn’t my duty to force you to open your eyes to what is a fantastic musical experience. I am merely the facilitator. I bring to your attention things that you might not otherwise be aware of or wouldn’t have the wherewithal to know about at that second.
The Suburbs is easily the best album thus far this year, killing anything Muse or Brandon Flowers could vomit out. It is a themed album of sorts based on life in the suburbs, a fate not for everyone. I have now lived in & out of the suburbs at various points in my life & I have always had a special affection for them. The people that are in the suburbs have a genuine affection for their neighbors, they’re friendlier & much more affable yet not as naive as perhaps their country living counterparts.
City life is rough & tumble. It moves at break neck speed & oftentimes the soul crushing speed of it all can ruin whatever ounce of humanity you brought into it. The suburbs are the median between City & Country life & I believe that is the point that Arcade Fire attempts to convey. This is an album that also conveys regret, failure & the modernity of how we are different than previous generations. Arcade Fire brings a deeper essence of life to their music & today when so much is focused on laughable acts like proud lesbian Justin Bieber or Madonna wanna-be Lady Gaga it is refreshing to hear something come along that breaks the mold & simply makes great music not for the masses, but for the few.
City With No Children – Arcade Fire
Modern Man – Arcade Fire
Ready to Start – Arcade Fire
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) – Arcade Fire