I don’t really do music here, but Arcade Fire’s really outdone themselves with The Suburbs. I can’t stop listening and feel compelled to share.
Much has already been written about The Suburbs, and rightfully so, the CD debuted at #1 on the Irish Albums Chart, UK Albums Chart, US. Billboard 200, and Canadian Albums Charts knocking Eminem’s Recovery out of the number one spot on all four. In addition to the great debut the album’s received positive reviews all around with proclamations of near hyperbolic praise such as “You could call it their OK Computer. But it’s arguably better than that.” by Mike Driver for the BBC or “They’ve judged their moment perfectly, and this deserves to be their Automatic for the People…“ by Emily Mackay for NME. Of course, there’s critics like Adam Downer at Sputnik Music who gave the album three out of five stars because of it’s “bitter and deeply resentful” lyrics. Personally I think he’s full of shit, obviously.
Arcade Fire’s previous albums have both been very good and among my top listened CDs but they never managed to spark the emotion in me that Suburbs has, I almost listened to them passively. Conversely if I were to listen to Suburbs while driving, I’m sure I would drive to my hometown regardless of my true destination. Unfortunately the drive “home” is longer than the album.
It’s a peculiar feeling listening to The Suburbs and it’s just as Emily Mackay says in her review, “listening to it feels just like coming home.” The songs sound familiar, they sound aged, there are bits and pieces throughout that fleetingly remind me of other songs that I just can’t grasp out of the air and remember. I keep listening trying to pinpoint where I’ve heard that sound before. Example, Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), this song sounds like an 80s synthpop song I surely listened to as a child of the 80s, except it’s brand new it didn’t exist then, yet it so clearly reminds me of the 80s and early 90s.
Google and Arcade Fire collaborated together in promotion of both the potential of HTML5 and Chrome as well as The Suburbs. It’s a neat little experiment placing your hometown in the video via Google Maps and Streets, though I feel the use of pop-up windows to be a little odd, but it all happens in time with the music which makes it all good. Unfortunately, to see the presentation you’ll likely have to install Google Chrome, though one would think any browser supporting HTML5 should work but some how I doubt it. For everyone who doesn’t want to install a new web browser just to try out a single music video presentation here’s a concert in 720p with about half the songs off Suburbs and a mix off the other two albums, Funeral and Neon Bible.
I guess I forgot to include information about who Arcade Fire even is for those who don’t know, assuming the world knows about Canadian indie rock is probably a bit much, even if they did top the charts in some international territory. So if you’re interested, hit up their Wikipedia article, their own website, their YouTube channel or perhaps even Google. (Yeah, I’m too lazy to bother writing up a summary myself).
PS: Anyone who watched the concert, did you notice that carbon fibre violin? How f***in’ cool is that? Speaking of violins, Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy (no relation to the game) did the string arrangements for Suburbs.