I once said, there are two kinds of music fans, REM and U2 fans… Arcade Fire’s forcing me to re-think that! And yeah, we really like The Suburbs…

TSURUMOBO Instant Photography “Suburbia” by Me!

My little mini-vaca with the family continues unabated!  Book stores, bike rides, rollerblading, and epic games of Dicecapades!

Oh my!

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
4. Rococo
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…


10 comments for “I once said, there are two kinds of music fans, REM and U2 fans… Arcade Fire’s forcing me to re-think that! And yeah, we really like The Suburbs…

  1. Ohhmorrissey
    July 26, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    The Beatles vs The Stones? I’ll take the Beatles handsdown although I do love me some Stones.

    REM vs U2? REM by a long shot. IMHO U2 have nothing on the REM although U2 “War still kicks butt. “Reckoning” is where it is at baby!

    I usually try to dismiss bands that are fairly popular nowadays because I am a cranky, old, snobby, musical douche bag. You can’t dismiss the Arcade Fire though. They are epic and they are great. I think that they are one of the few really important band’s out there right now and I love this new album.

    The only thing that I’ll say in dissent of Tsuru’s review is that I really love the song “Modern Man”. To each his own though. For instance, I know you’re a huge Violent Femmes fan Tsuru, can you tell me why the heck “nitemares” isn’t on any of their greatest hits albums? It was a single and I freaking love that track!

  2. July 26, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    Good summation. I see your thoughts on “Modern Man” are unchanged from Saturday.

    You raise an interesting idea/concept with Arcade Fire vs. The Decemberists vs. U2 vs. REM. With The Decemberists are further down the musical slide – having already release a concept album – maybe Arcade Fire vs. The National would a good debate. The National being more involved in other projects outside of their band – like U2 – and Arcade Fire just making good college rock (indie) album. Or maybe something more apt would be Pavement vs. The Flaming Lips? (I have given that little thought.)

    The point being, The Suburbs is somewhere between a top three album-of-the-year qualifier to a top three third album of the last 30 years qualifier (especially if “Month of May” had been omitted).

  3. July 26, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    @ohmorrissey Why Nightmares was never on the best of?? No clue… such a sweet little song!

    @chuck I agree, that was my problem with the Decemberists in my thinking, the timelines don’t match up like they do for REM & U2.

    I feel like The National & Arcade Fire are more in direct competition (if they were businesses) for the same fan. But I could def. be wrong!

    Pavement & Flips… Flips are just too weird I think. Need something a bit more for the masses. But still, Pave vs. Flips is a great combo!

    We’ll see where Suburbs lands after a few months with it for me.

  4. July 26, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    I love both in most of these cases. U2 was great until the era following Pop and REM was great until roughly the same period (1996 or so). Or maybe I’m just an old ‘Things were better back when!’.

  5. July 26, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    i always link arcade fire and decemberists in my mind. i guess just the big indie bands i’ve known about since i entered the genre. for that reason i can’t say they butt heads in a versus fashion. they’re too connected in my little brain- i’d still vote Animal Collective as the guys in the other corner

  6. July 27, 2010 at 2:33 AM

    I still hate the fact why I seem to be the only person in the blogosphere who doesn’t get the Arcarde Fire. Their debut is supposed to be a classic. I just think it’s an overrated pretentious piece of crap. What am I missing here?

    And I’m not even going to start about the whole “U2 or REM” discussion. I am not taking that thing seriously for a single moment…

  7. July 27, 2010 at 2:41 AM

    Here is my review of the album.

  8. July 27, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    I have to say arcade fire’s “the suburbs” is one of my favorite albums of the year. It has so many amazing moments in it, and your comparison of them to U2 might be true, they are playing madison square garden and headlining lollapolooza. But I dont know if the decemberists fit the bill for REM.

  9. July 27, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    It’s the D’s for me… but yeah, it’s certainly not a perfect replacement!

  10. July 28, 2010 at 3:19 AM

    I’ve already admitted to it on twitter. But this new Arcade Fire album is pretty excellent…

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