Arcade Fire Suburbs.
The bulk of The Suburbs focuses on this quiet desperation borne of compounding the pain of wasting your time as an adult by romanticizing the wasted time of your youth. As bleak as the lyrics are, though, they're buoyed by the band's leanest, loosest songwriting yet. These songs are busy, but never overly complicated, subtly nudging at their boundaries while allowing wide lanes for Butler's perfectly memorable melodic turns. The framework is familiar: Arcade Fire's trademark of decorating AOR with orchestral fringe ("Ready to Start", "Empty Room"), sun-baked Harvest gold ("Wasted Hours", "Suburban War"), and in the record's highlights, pulsating electro ("Half Light II [No Celebration]", "Sprawl II [Mountains Beyond Mountains]"). There's also the possibility that The Suburbs can be seen as a lesser Arcade Fire album if you mostly value rock music for its escapism. This is another 2010 example of a Boss-indebted band (see also: the National and Titus Andronicus) making epic outpourings of modern disillusionment and disappointment for people who can commiserate and return to fretting about their jobs and bank accounts once the house lights go up. But just because the concerns of The Suburbs are at times mundane, that makes them no less real. And that Arcade Fire can make such powerful art out of recognizing these moments makes our own existences feel worthy of documentation. By dropping Neon Bible's accusatory standpoint, The Suburbs delivers a life-affirming message similar to Funeral's: We're all in this together. Review by Ian Cohen-PitchforkArcade Fire Suburbs
Leanest, loosest songwriting yet
Focuses on this quiet desperation borne of compounding the pain of wasting your time as an adult by romanticizing the wasted time of your youth