I will admit, when Arcade Fire first blew up, I was somewhat skeptical; all the “Neighborhood #1”-infinity songs seemed gimmicky at best. But I really dug Neon Bible, and after hearing the live version of “Wake Up” (originally from 2004’s Funeral) featuring David Bowie, I was sold.
The Suburbs is in many ways the hoped- for Arcade Fire album. It gives substance to the hype. Though the album still contains lyrical themes often touched on in the band’s prior music — the idea of the suburbs exposed and the fact that no life is really “normal” — the music is more mature and organized. It seems as though the band put experimenting on hold for a bit as they polish their group sound for this studio album. What they created is a stripped down, more pop-ish follow-up to Neon Bible which beautifully displays all that Arcade Fire has to offer.
Some especially good tracks from the album: “Modern Man,” “Rococo,” “Ready to Start” and “We Used to Wait.” Don’t even get me started on “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains);” I’ve listened to it 32 times in the last week and I’m nowhere near over it.