Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Suburbs, Arcade Fire

BEST of 2010

After the disappointment of Neon Bible, I did not have my hopes up for Arcade Fire's follow up album. Something was lost between Funeral and Neon Bible. The personal touch of loss, growth, and youth that were so strong throughout Funeral were nowhere to be found in Neon Bible. Neon Bible seemed like a landscape created out of trying too hard. The album sounds old, worn out, and rusted. Although, my favorite Arcade Fire song does exist on the album, 'My Body is a Cage.'

The Suburbs is sprawling in the quietest manner. There is something epic, grand, tragic about the sounds and lyrics of this album. I imagine the bright, beautiful bubbles of champagne during each and every song. In fact, the entire album reminds me of Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. The Suburbs could play out as a soundtrack for the film. To take it one step further, every track would fit so perfectly in the amazing scene when the party guests all gather in the field to watch the sun rise (a scene with a tip of the hat to the beautiful cinematography of Terrence Malick). These songs capture the most intimate moments in the grandest of ways.

My two favorite tracks on the album, so far, are 'We Used to Wait' and 'Sprawl I (Flatland).' 'Sprawl I' is the saddest track on the album. It comes so close to capturing the pure intensity of lines from Funeral (ie, "sometimes we remember bedrooms, and our parents bedrooms, and the bedrooms of our friends"). In 'Sprawl I' the scene is of a decaying city used to symbolize a decaying world, and quite possibly a decaying relationship ("the emotions are dead, it's no wonder you feel so strange"). 'We Used to Wait' is equally sad. But, the music is faster and doesn't break the heart as quickly as 'Sprawl I.' If I had to pick, 'We Used to Wait' is the albums greatest moment.

The album is sixteen tracks long. There is a lot to take in during one sitting. I've only had a few listens with the album. Perhaps, all these opinions are too soon. But, I can't imagine growing tired or bored with any of the album. I can only imagine it growing richer and deeper. After the disappointment of Arcade Fire's second album, I am rejoicing over the perfection, the depth, and the talent of their latest release. I feel Funeral will always be the album to define Arcade Fire, but The Suburbs will always be the greatest achievement.


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