Last year, the trailer to the movie “Where the Wild Things Are” delivered goose bumps to many who saw it. The song featured was “Wake Up” and the band was Arcade Fire.
Although that song got them plenty of attention, it’s rather old. It dates all the way back to 2005 — can anyone remember that far back? Arcade Fire, however, is still making noise and their 2010 release “The Suburbs” is FTD — that’s fresh to death in 2010 lingo.
This band, which could also be called an orchestra (with up to ten members on stage at a time), has always triggered intellectual thoughts and ideas through their music. During the last election they campaigned heavily on behalf of President Obama. With “The Suburbs,” the band continues to make creative, enchanting music while still reflecting many of the conflicts of the time.
The opening track titled “The Suburbs” is something of a paradox. It is driven by rhythmic-acoustic guitar strums and playful piano, but at the same time, its lyrical content exposes some dark realities we don’t always like to think about. In one of the most gut-wrenching lines of the song, singer Win Butler proclaims, “So can you understand/ why I want a daughter while I’m still young? / I want to hold her hand and show her some beauty before all this damage is done.” Butler goes on to explore questions of war, progress, and ideas of modernism.
The song “Empty Room” brings a much-needed change of pace to the album that starts to sound just a little redundant four tracks in. It’s short and sweet and a comfort to lone-hearted lovers feeling the sting of distance.
“Half Light 1” is a triumphant crescendo of sounds building up in unison and poignant lyrics that culminate in monstrous crashing cymbals that cycle throughout the steady progression. It is highlighted by a beautiful violin that glides over the fixed arrangement composed by the other instruments.
“The Suburbs” has been well-received by both fans and critics. It is not an album to play when you’re cruising or getting ready to hit the club. Instead, like thought-provoking literature, this album is pleasant to the ear while also challenging your ideas and perspective on the world.
“The Suburbs” is a superb album by a band that is socially aware and has the talent to go with the brains. This time around, Arcade Fire is sure to get the attention without needing a movie trailer to go along with it.