Arcade Fire
The Suburbs


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Madden USER (2 Reviews)
September 14th, 2010 | 11 replies | 1,778 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Yet another excellent record from the "indie heroes."

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Have you read a music magazine or blog since 2004? If so, you know who Arcade Fire is. Ever since the notorious 9.7 Pitchfork rating of the band’s debut album, Funeral, they have been at or near the top of the independent music world. Its follow-up was no flop, either: 2007's Neon Bible debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and, to many, is just as good. Led by the husband and wife duo of Win Butler and Règine Chassagne, Arcade Fire’s every move has been followed since that review and not just because of the demand from P4k-obsessed music geeks - the band is talented as hell and deserves all of the attention they get.

The Suburbs, the much-anticipated third album from the Montreal septet, is one that’s based upon the concept itself. However, this album isn’t promoting the ‘burbs; it’s relegating them. Like the artwork included in the album’s packaging, Win Butler’s lyrics often paint a dreary picture of suburbia and the people in them: he bashes hipster kids in “Rococo” and sings of teenage boredom in “Wasted Hours.” Always honest and often emotional in his delivery, Butler fits personal memories and wishes into the mix, too: the 30-year-old yearns for a daughter while he's still young, as noted on the opening title track and seems to complain about stardom while desiring for an improved relationship on "Ready to Start." If he really did make an album displaying his emotions since 2009, like how he sang that he wanted to on "Month of May," he must be pretty bummed out.

As cohesive an album as it is, I don't know if The Suburbs needs to be 63 minutes. I understand that a concept album may necessitate a longer length to fully exhibit the "big idea" of the given topic, but that idea could have been condensed by five to ten minutes or so. That may just be my opinion, but this LP is undoubtedly the most immediate in the Arcade Fire's catalog; it won't take listens upon listens to fully grasp like its predecessors did. The instrumentation on Funeral and Neon Bible is rather hefty, but this record seems much more stripped-down. Fewer orchestral arrangements (some provided by Owen Pallett) and, simply, fewer instruments being played at one time make it easier to digest. In addition to the more straighforward, straight up rock tracks like "Ready to Start" and "Month of May," the electro-sounding "Half Light II (No Celebration)" and "Sprawl II" provide a nice contrast to the album.

A lot of the discussion surrounding The Suburbs will be about which Arcade Fire release is the greatest. I'm undecided. Those aforementioned P4k lovers may say Funeral, but it should just be a matter of personal opinion; I think they're all matched pretty evenly. I'm sure that hardcore fans would like to see material be released on more of a regular basis, but one thing remains certain in my mind about Arcade Fire: this band won't let you down.


user ratings (1963)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Cragorio (4)
    Being trapped in the suburbs isn't necessarily a bad thing....

    urnamz2longfixit (4)
    Cut the lights, crawl into your bed, play this and enjoy....

    sulky (4.5)
    shots from the hippo....

    YetAnotherBrick (5)
    Arcade Fire's The Suburbs is a near-flawlessly put together concept album, revolving aroun...

  • Alec Martin (5)
    Is it Album of the Year? Hell yes....

    NigelH (5)
    2009, 2010. Wanna make a record how I felt then....

    Chris Baranowski (4)
    Both timeless and contemporary, urgent and meditative, The Suburbs is an important step fo...

    Chris Davanzo (4)
    Arcade Fire tries yet again to escape the "Neighborhoods."...

  • rmill3r (4)
    The Suburbs is beautiful and grand, just like you'd expect from them so far. It may come d...

    Ciaran McManus (4)
    Although at times it loses itself, The Suburbs is an immersive and rewarding experience...

    Dominic Mercurio (4)
    An album with heart. It’s not drastically different from their previous work, but feels...

    WoebegoneWanderer (2)
    The inevitable fall, the sound of a band losing its direction and personality. Altogether,...

  • robin EMERITUS (3.5)
    how you gonna lift it with your arms folded tight?...

    Tyler Fisher EMERITUS (4)
    Win Butler’s open letter to the white suburban kid works like a baseball bat to the head...


Comments:Add a Comment 
vanderb0b
September 14th 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If this album was 2/3 as long, it would be an easy 4 for me, but as its stands, it's floating between a 3 and 3.5. Good review.

EDIT: You're new here, it seems, so you probably don't know it, but it's against site etiquette to have multiple review on the front page at the same time.

mmadden
September 14th 2010



14 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh, thank you for telling me. I wasn't aware of that.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2010



15016 Comments


i got this maybe one day ill listen probs not

also who cares about that dumb "rule"

Romulus
September 14th 2010



8423 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

eh it is pretty annoying if someone floods the front page but when it's mild it doesn't matter

mmadden
September 14th 2010



14 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I apologize, it won't happen again.

Romulus
September 14th 2010



8423 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

nah don't worry you were mild

Romulus
September 14th 2010



8423 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't either, 1.5 is really harsh though man

mmadden
September 14th 2010



14 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Other than the length, what didn't you guys like about this record?

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2010



15016 Comments


also ive heard ready to start and thats a good song thats all i reall yknow tho

Piglet
September 15th 2010



4653 Comments


Very readable review and I can't believe I still haven't bothered with this album yet.

vanderb0b
September 15th 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what didn't you guys like about this record?


Too much filler, not enough stuff that's particularly memorable. I've listened to this over ten times, and looking at the track listing, I can't remember a single note of half the songs.

That said, title track and We Used To Wait rule, might bump to a 3.5



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