My little mini-vaca with the family continues unabated! Book stores, bike rides, rollerblading, and epic games of Dicecapades!
But just because Mama Tsuru and my baby birds are in town, don’t mean I ain’t listening to music and thinking about you guys! Awww… tender in my pants too. The big news, of course, is that Arcade Fire’s highly anticipated follow-up to Neon Bible has finally leaked all over our collective pants, making us look as though we pissed ourselves, and appears to be taking the music nerdom by storm. Yep, The Suburbs is out and phrases like “better than Funeral” are being bantered about like a slab of meat at Rib Fest!
First off, the album… Suburbs. My thoughts…
I like it, a lot. Very solid. To play the comparison game, I’ll go with better than Neon Bible, not quite at Funeral. It’s really good, but, and here’s where the big suburban soccer mom butt comes in..
Oh my ew.
A couple things. I still don’t like “Month Of May”, still sounds like a somewhat contrived Tom Petty song. Sorry. I really am. I hoped when I heard it as part of the album, it would swing into my brain and make sense. Also, “Modern Man”, just seems to lumber. Those lows are balanced by epic highs, like the lead-off title track and the Blondie-esque “Sprawl II”. In fact, that’s something I noticed about the album. Some of the songs feel like someone else’s songs or song styles, then eatin, ingested, and then regurgitated into Arcade Fire greatness. “The Suburbs” is an old-timey jaunt, converted to new AF yumminess, and the same is true for many songs. There are elements of familiarity in the way the songs are presented, but yet they are decidedly Arcade Fire’s. Weird, eh? Even the beautiful “Rococo” sounds almost like a New Pornographers song?
When the album is beautiful, it’s beautiful. It feels important, insightful, and strong. For many, it will be album of the year, surely. For me, it’s a grower, so time will tell. Until then, get your Suburbs on, because when Arcade Fire releases an album, it’s not just an album, it’s an event!
1. The Suburbs
2. Ready To Start
3. Modern Man
5. Empty Room
6. City With No Children
7. Half Light I
8. Half Light II (No Celebration)
9. Suburban War
10. Month Of May
11. Wasted Hours
12. Deep Blue
13. We Used To Wait
14. Sprawl I (Flatland)
15. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
16. The Suburbs (Continued)
Which brings me to something I’ve been thinking of…. A long while back, we talked about how a long time ago it was said there are two kinds of music fans, Elvis & Beatles fans. Times change, music changed, and personally I believed a proper update was the two types of fans were U2 and REM fans. Both followed similar paths, both became huge, massive even, but both had different intents, sizes, and inclinations.
U2 was going to change the world, one Bono bellowed lyric at a time, his voice and their sound filling arenas, meeting Popes, creating movements.
REM, on the other hand, were the geeky kids that will change your mind and heart, through a conversation at some hole in the wall coffee shop. One connection at a time, Stipe quietly there, against the wall, watching Bono draw a crowd. Someone did an article comparing the two, but I’ll be damned if I can find it. Sorry.
But, again, as times changes, music changes, peoples changerin’s, and I start to wonder…. Has the torched been passed? I kinda want to assert that yeah, I think Arcade Fire may be the new U2. They are big.
They are bombastic. They have something to say, and something tells me, as time goes on, they’ll need larger and larger venues to say it! But…. if Arcade Fire is the new U2, who is the new REM? My money’s on these guys…
Yep, The Decemberists.
Geeky, awkward bookworms, always three-shades too awkward for the kind of massive movements Arcade Fire seem to ignite. Or… maybe I’m just full o’ shit again. Maybe laughingstock is right:
I feel like the problem is that music has gone out in a billion different directions in the past 10 years, and it is now so accessible and enjoyed in all its various forms by so many people that I don’t know that we’ll ever have another Elvis-Beatles or REM-U2 rivalry again. Certainly on smaller levels (Animal Collective has quite a few detractors), but not to that extent.
He’s probably right, but in my head, I like the AF/D’s faux-rivalry. What kind of fan are you? Me? I think you know I’m a Decemberists fan…