And so we come to the end of my three-week exploration of Arcade Fire’s Grammy-winning The Suburbs. Dana, you can breathe easy once again (until you see what I serve up next… you might be begging for a little Arcade Fire a week from now!).
Like many concept albums, The Suburbs ends with a short coda that echoes the album’s beginning. That must be written in a concept album handbook somewhere.
The emotional peak of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, and its finest moment overall, comes with this two-part suite.
‘Sprawl I’ and ‘Sprawl II’ are very different musically — the former is a minimalist dirge while the latter is an expansive New Wave epic — but the overall tone is consistently melancholy.
Melancholy… that explains why I really dig this.
The Suburbs is really finishing strong. ‘We Used to Wait’ is another excellent track. Propelled by a high jabbing piano chord, it’s an adrenaline rush that served as the album’s first single.
Thematically, Win Butler is back on the topic of technology and its deadening impact on modern life. He looks back nostalgically at the days when we would write actual letters rather than e-mails or texts.
Apparently Arcade Fire stacked the best songs in the back half of The Suburbs… I’m liking each of these more than the last.
‘Deep Blue’ has a great lyric and an evocative musical backdrop that marries the sound of the 60s and the 80s — appropriate given the subject matter.
We’re in the home stretch of what has been an excruciating three weeks for Dana but, in my imagination at least, a fascinating exploration of a modern classic for scores of lurking readers.
‘Wasted Hours,’ the eleventh track on Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, pretty much encapsulates the album’s theme. It describes adolescence as the “wasted hours before we know where to go and what to do.”