Robin S. from BURBANK, CA Reviewed on 5/15/2014...
Great album from start to finish!
Tracks 13 and 15 are my favs
Diamonds in the rough
Dr. Rock | Chicago | 08/03/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After waiting for what seems like a millennium since their last official release, we finally get The Suburbs, an engaging indie rock record full of pop gems. Here's my track by track take on it...
The Suburbs - A weak start to an otherwise awesome album, this song was released as the first unofficial single. When I first heard this song before the album was released, it greatly lowered my expectations. It's terribly repetitive. (2/10)
Ready to Start - This song marks the true beginning of the album, in my mind. The Strokes-y drum and bass coordination kick-start the song and drive it into one of the most poignant, catchy choruses on the album. (10/10)
Modern Man - I love a good song with a time signature that throws you off then becomes one of your favorites. (9/10)
Rococo - With its chanted tribal chorus, this song brings to mind memories of their debut album, "Funeral." It's a good example of standard, epic Arcade Fire fare. (8/10)
Empty Room - This is my favorite song on the album, without a doubt. The frenzied strings lead you into the trap and then like the distortion kicks in and knocks you out of your chair. This reminds me of The Rentals. (10/10)
City With No Children - The Springsteen influence once again becomes apparent. Thank God they know how to use it. (8/10)
Half Light I & II - The first half is not as amazing as the second, but it serves as a good lead in. (6/10)/(8/10)
Suburban War - I've seen some people make the case that this album is overproduced (mainly due to tracks like this), but I'd have to disagree. It's well produced, but not overly so. I think this track a perfect example of the right amount of indie/pop production a great Arcade Fire song requires. (8/10)
Month of May - I'm not in love with this song. It reminds me of the grungier side of Yo La Tengo, but it sounds like one of their tracks I would skip. (5/10)
Wasted Hours - The vocal melody and lyrics immediately linger in your memory long after hearing this song. (9/10)
Deep Blue - The album starts to get a little sleepy at this point. During my first listen, it was harder to differentiate the songs toward the end of the album, which made them slightly less memorable. This song trots along at a blues bar pace but doesn't stay with you for long afterward. (6/10)
We Used to Wait - Things are still a bit worn out as this song plays, but a few interesting elements are introduced into the mix, such as a Modest Mouse-like guitar riff that noodles around in the piano hits. (7/10)
Sprawl I - Perhaps the sleepiest song yet, Sprawl I crawls around but its melancholy melody saves it from being a failure. (6/10)
Sprawl II - The alarm clock finally went off. This could easily be the next single. The catchy 80's all-girl vocals are infectious. This track is an obvious standout and an instant favorite. (10/10)
The Suburbs (continued) - Somehow, the lead-out with the same name as the lead-in is at least ten times better. How? I don't know. (8/10)
Overall, the album felt a little bloated at times. But if you sift through the slower songs, there are moments of musical brilliance to be found. Thanks for reading!
***A note to other people on Amazon who have given this album a rating of less than 5 stars: Don't delete your review just because some pretentious hipsters have been clicking the 'not helpful' button! They want you to delete your review!***"
Life after the Funeral
Jeff Loudon | Nashville, TN | 08/03/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Arcade Fire burst onto the scene in 2004 with their debut album, Funeral. Their grandiose indie anthems earned them glowing praise from critics and fans alike. With Win Butler leading on vocals and guitar, Arcade Fire's eclectic instrumentation and apparent influences, including David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, and Neil Young, made them stand out from the countless indie bands getting their start at the same time.
Recording their second album in a church, Neon Bible utilized a pipe organ, full orchestra and military choir to expand their sound even further. Although the mood of Neon Bible was much darker than the soul cleansing shouts of hope that burst through the depression on the surface of Funeral, Arcade Fire proved they were much more than a one off talent. A packed tour schedule consumed the band's time until early 2008 when the members decided to take a break, playing a few free shows later in the year in support of Barack Obama's presidential candidacy, but ultimately staying out of the public eye.
Now, two years later, Arcade Fire is finally back with one of the most anticipated albums of 2010. Their third record opens with the title track, "The Suburbs," which finds Arcade Fire in significantly lighter spirits than their previous two records. The same band looking for an escape from the pains of life realized in their earlier years is now beginning to accept the conformity of suburbia with a new goal of providing their children with the best experiences life has to offer, safe from the agony they had to work through.
There is still, however, an internal conflict hidden within the band's acceptance of The Suburbs. On "Ready To Start," an energetic verse proclaiming "I would rather be wrong than live in the shadows of your song" shows the classic break-away mindset of Arcade Fire shining through while the following track, "Modern Man," brings the pace back down to the mid-tempo groove and finds Win Butler repeating "I'm a modern man" as if he's trying to convince the listener of something he doesn't quite believe himself yet. The musical mood swings continue as laid back tracks like "Rococo" and "Wasted Hours" are given "Empty Room" and "Month of May," two of the most animated tracks on the album, as neighbors. Although, on first listen, this pitting of tunes against each other may cause the album to seem sporadic, on further listens, the sheer genius of the track ordering and songwriting as a whole rings out.
The apex of the album occurs during "Suburban War." The realization of inevitable maturity begins to be accepted as Butler's earlier cry of "I would rather be wrong than live in the shadows of your song" becomes "I've been living in the shadows of your song." The truth comes out, denial becomes acceptance and the song's tempo doubles as the line "all my old friends, they don't know me now" is hauntingly repeated.
The Suburbs finds Arcade Fire taking a longing look at the naivety of their youth while looking forward to what the future holds. Where their first two albums leaned heavily on stand out singles like "Wake Up," "Rebellion," "Keep the Car Running," and "Intervention," The Suburbs is much more of a complete work meant to be taken in as a single, hour long journey between adolescence and adulthood. Longtime fans of Arcade Fire will always hold Funeral on a pedestal, untouchable by future releases, but just as children often grimace at being compared to their parents, The Suburbs is a masterpiece worthy of such an analogy.
Similar Artists: Talking Heads, Pixies Track Suggestion: "Suburban War"
**ATTENTION OTHER REVIEWERS** Just because you aren't on the first page is no reason to vote a review as "unhelpful." "
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Andrew Vice | Plano, TX | 08/03/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Arcade Fire has been mining the emotional turmoil of adolescence since its debut in 2004, and though the cause of that turmoil has once again changed, the message is, as always, the same. I'm not one of those people that thinks that everything Arcade Fire has done has been peerless and flawless: I think Arcade Fire is a good band that makes good albums with a handful of truly brilliant songs, nothing more and nothing less. The Suburbs is, as some of the song titles would suggest, a sprawling work, and not without its flaws, but there is plenty of reward for those willing to stick it out for the 60+ minutes. Perhaps working too tightly on the theme of "the suburbs," the album has a tendency to be repetitive, which is not surprising given the album's length and the number of Part 1/Part 2 songs on the record. Though it suffers from some of the same problems like the Decemberists' bloated The Hazards of Love, namely strict adherence to a not entirely warranted theme, the Suburbs sets itself apart by having a number of truly excellent songs. Modern Man and Sprawl II are definitely among the best songs Arcade Fire have written, but having a propulsive drive that demands stomping in time with the beat and belting out the words. It should have been obvious all along that Arcade Fire was not going to top their (somewhat over-loved) debut, Funeral, but on the Suburbs, the band has stayed true to its sound and made the logical next step."
The Experience is what it's about
M. R. Porvaznik | 08/07/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most music I listen to is either danceable or emotional. Arcade Fire has undoubtedly dominated the emotional realm and I am supremely grateful. I associate their albums with fictional events, just because it suits me:
Funeral sends me to that moment when I hear the ice cream truck coming. I'm at the top of the big hill with my $2 in quarters in my pocket and my 4 speed bike under my feet, and just then a big smile spreads across my face. I lean into my handle bars, and rush down as quick as I can, met by all my best friends as I race through the Neighborhood, and its pure bliss.
Neon Bible is more like lying on the roof of my apartment, contemplating what I'm really doing in life, when it hits me- it doesn't matter, I'm just a miniscule part of this big machine called 'existence'- and with that I'm freed but also met with the sad beauty of life being 'insignificant'. Nearly tearful as I leave the rooftop, I appreciate the world more than ever.
The Suburbs being a little longer kind of evolves. I'm at school walking through the halls like I know what's cool, slapping hands with my buds, catching a few glances of the old faces, friends or not, when I get to the door to history class and remember what my grades have been recently. I know I'm doing alright but it won't be good enough for me to be a doctor like I'd hoped, but life isn't over, there's something out there. Just as I'm feeling a little lost with how overwhleming things have been lately, my girl pops up and gives me a peck on the cheek. I know life is big and when I look into her eyes, my worries don't disappear, but it gives me hope. Graduation is quickly approaching, and it's scary, but I know I'll give everything I got to give my girl and I, a happy life.
An unorothodox review for an unorthodox band. I highly suggest all of these albums, as evident by the 5 stars. I can see why people value Funeral over the others but I think every album is beautiful and sincere. Personally, I'd say The Suburbs is the most accessible and evokes a subtler range of emotions. The tracks are all lovely and if you enjoy the experience I've had, then maybe you'll enjoy something similar on your listen through. Tracks of note: Empty Room, Deep Blue, Sprawl II, Suburban War
It's a grower
J. Stewart | Raleigh, NC | 08/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"4 1/2 stars. This album isn't like Funeral, it doesn't leap out of the speakers and slap you across the face. The first time I played it, I wasn't so sure. I had one raised eyebrow for most of it going "hmmmm..." Each time since then, I've liked it more and more. At first I thought it lacked the passion of their first two outings, but I hear now that it does have passion, it's just in a more subtle and less bombastic, dramatic way. The bad reviews here are probably people who've only given it one listen. It takes a bit to digest and click."