I’ve been reserving judgement on the new Arcade Fire album, The Suburbs, which dropped today. I never fully embraced Funeral until after I became obsessed Neon Bible. And it took me five or so listens (and about a million on-repeat listens of closer “My Body Is a Cage”) to fall for Neon Bible.
But having listened to The Suburbs a good number of times now, I can safely say that this album is going to continue growing on me. And seeing them, with openers Spoon, knock the socks off Philly’s Mann Center last night, against a beautiful and rain-threatening sky, seals the deal. I still feel like it’s a little fatty, that a song or two could be cut, or at least some of them shortened. But it’s an album to be excited about.
Even as its focus moves from politics writ large to the smallness of suburban life, the music has become richer, more bombastic. “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” is the standout, both because it (soft) rocks and because it sounds nothing like the rest of the album, or anything else Arcade Fire has produced. Lil’ brother William Butler (were his parents Yeats fans?) told WXPN yesterday that the working title was “That Abba Song.” I might quibble and suggest “That Late Abba Song,” but with a track this synthed-up and driven, why be such a musical stick in the mud?
Buy The Suburbs at Amazon.