Life In The Suburbs

1 Dec

Two-thousand Nine, Two-thousand Ten, I could make a record how I felt then. Only I don’t have to, because The Arcade Fire already did. In the lengthy concept album “The Suburbs”, The Arcade Fire covers every thought and feeling that I have had about those days. Somehow, they felt it all.

The album starts out with he title track, ‘The Suburbs’, which is upbeat and catchy, the full immersion in the lengthy memory/fantasy that the narrators has immersed us in. ‘The Suburbs’ is all the day that went just right, the freedom, the friends that would do anything stupid that you suggested. Somewhere in this song, still, we feel ourselves flipped quickly into the present. “In my dreams we’re still screamin’…”

Perhaps the whole album exists somewhere between our past and present. In this way it is similar to the way that I experience life; forced always into the present, and yet feeling in some way to be still a part of the past. Still, The Suburbs presses on- let’s not forget that the past was not without fault. We are surprised that we too are moving past the feeling, and cannot live in the past forever.

The next songs (Ready to Start and Modern Man) are relatively upbeat and remain unclear on whether they are in the past or present tense. Ready to Start seems to be a story of failure and longing, of wishes that never came true, and of regret. Modern Man emphasizes the confusion of life in this world; “Maybe when you’re older you will understand, why you don’t feel right, why you can’t sleep at night now”. Both of these songs are presented in a straightforward manner, not devoid of emotion, but certainly not emphasizing it. These are the same things that we all experience, so acceptance must seem natural.

Slowly, we sink deeper into more painful memories. Rococo emanates clear, unwavering emotion and ends in loud, angry, even agonized shouts towards generations who are much the way you were, and yet so different. Empty Room and Half Light I and II are quieter, softer, emotive, and introspective. We begin to learn that this album assimilates every aspect of the way we see our past. Some days we feel the anger, some days the sadness, some days the joy. And why? In those days we were trapped, just as we are now. We are trapped in the suburbs, we are trapped in our own minds.

Perhaps my two favorite songs in this whole album are Month of May and Wasted Hours, which come one right after the other. The first is louder, upbeat even. The coincidence is uncanny. May of 2010. Those days were so short, and just when I knew what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it, it was all gone. “Month of May everybody’s in love…” To me, Month of May is all the times that never lasted, that you knew would be short, and yet never realized quite how short.

Quickly, the song ends, and so begins that slow, steady rhythm of Wasted Hours. It’s those summers that my best friend and I laid on the floors of each other’s rooms staring at the ceiling, or stood by the river throwing in sticks and watching them float away. Wasted hours is the talking about our dreams until we didn’t care, talking about the things we never cared about, and then sitting quietly by the side of the pool swirling our feet around and watching the reflections of the water. Wasted Hours is the long walks to nowhere, and the tree hour phone conversations about teen fiction books. For maybe the first time ever, these times have been recognized for what they are; the most important.

What amazes me most about the album “The Suburbs” is just how close the album comes to mirroring something that was already there. I very rarely find this kind of art, and when I do find it, it quickly surpasses its “quality equivalents”. The quality of “Funeral” is, in my opinion, perfect. It’s an incredible album, 10/10. Yet the Suburbs is more than just a 10/10. It’s the sort of thing that I hold unto, because while I recognize that it’s musically brilliant, it is coincidentally brilliant as well.


One Response to “Life In The Suburbs”


  1. My 20 Favorite Albums | Chanche Catalog - June 10, 2013

    […] but it’s still damn close. I could go on (and on) about this album, and in fact I have, so I won’t do it again. (favorite track: Wasted […]

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