Broken dreams, faded exteriors, and lost love abound on Arcade Fire’s latest release, The Suburbs. As a melancholic romantic, I should be much more into this album at first listen than I am. While there’s some knockout lyrical imagery and beautiful executions of theme, The Suburbs doesn’t have the immediate draw of past efforts Neon Bible and Funeral.
Title track “The Suburbs” kicks off the album, a thesis statement of former glory. A meandering, moody guitar slides through the song, slightly off, like a photograph showing the wear and age of time gone by. The 80s gloom-and-boom of “Ready to Start” is just dying to score the works of Bret Easton Ellis, and the sentiment is turned on its ear for the deceptively happy synthesizer and abandoned shopping malls giving “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” its subtitular name.
While “We Used to Wait” deserves an honorable mention, the only track to really wow me straight off is “Suburban War“. Though simple, there’s something ultimately real about the lyrics that chronicle growing up and bottoming out:
And now the music dividesUs into tribesYou grew your hair so I grew mineThey said the past won’t restUntil we jump the fence and leave it behindAnd my old friends, I can remember whenYou cut your hairWe never saw you againNow the cities we live inCould be distant starsAnd I search for youIn every passing car
The Suburbs dropped 08.03.10.
For more info, visit www.arcadefire.com.