|Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
When Arcade Fire’s last album, Neon Bible came out I didn’t really care. I knew they weren’t gonna be able to top Funeral, so I don’t think I ended up giving Neon Bible the chance it deserved until earlier this year. My anticipation towards The Suburbs was a little more open-minded, probably because I’ve come to accept that anything less than Funeral could potentially still be quite good, which this album is.
I think Arcade Fire also realize they’ll never be able to capture the same lightning in a bottle that they did with Funeral, so they’ve definitely been going in a much more polished direction since. The emotions aren’t as relentless or unabashed, but there’s still plenty to latch on to on The Suburbs. The album is certainly the Arcade Fire’s longest album at around 60 minutes, but the scope of it doesn’t see them trying a bunch of new things, or concocting some grand narrative, but instead they’ve simply recorded very clear concise songs that have that bittersweet quality that only the Arcade Fire could deliver.
It’s kind of hard to say this is a more mature record from the Arcade Fire when their debut was essentially about death, but it does seem like they settled into a sound that’s a little more content with the responsibilities of growing older. But the album is called The Suburbs after all, and it’s still got plenty of nostalgic lyrics that help the album feel like a sort of homecoming for the band. I also thought I should say that I usually find myself more drawn to the songs sung by Win Butler than Regine Chassagne, but Chassagne delivers what I would say is the album’s stand-out track in “Sprawl II (Mountains Without Mountains)”.
So whether Arcade Fire ever matches the ambitious grandiosity of Funeral is pretty beside the point, I mean it’s not like Bruce Springsteen was ever gonna top Born To Run, but he’s still carved out a pretty good career for himself. I’m not saying Arcade Fire are the next Springsteen, or that they’re even remotely comparable, but my point is that the Arcade Fire are a good band and I never should have doubted them.
Favorite Tracks: “Modern Man”, “City With No Children”, “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”