The Arcade Fire Takes A Trip To “The Suburbs”

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The Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Last week, the Arcade Fire‘s new album "The Suburbs" leaked.  It probably will not hurt the sales, because there are eight different album covers, and so fans have a choice of what cover(s) they would like. But here is a look at the album itself.
For those who are not familiar with the Arcade Fire’s music, they are a bit of a cross between Modest Mouse and Broken Social Scene. They are an alternative rock band with a touch of chamber pop, headed by Win Butler and his wife, Regine Chassagne. They premiered in 2003 with "The Arcade Fire EP", but it was their critically acclaimed debut, "Funeral" (2004) that made a splash on the alternative rock scene. They followed up with "Neon Bible" (2007), which was still a solid album, though not as strong as "Funeral." And now, they have a new album due for official release on August 3 in the United States. 



For those who are familiar with the Arcade Fire, "The Suburbs" is more "Funeral" and less "Neon Bible." But as every Arcade Fire album, there is a slight change in style. "The Suburbs" is a more cynical album, in which Butler becomes critical of his fans. Yes, the songs are still catchy and well-constructed, but if a fan were to listen to the words they may find that the negativity of Butler’s lyrics take away from the album. After all, who wants to hear lyrics like, "By the time the first bombs fell, we were already bored," in reference to themselves?
That of course, is not to say that the album doesn’t deserve a listen. The beautiful thing about the Arcade Fire is that they aren’t a primarily guitar, bass, and drums band. In addition to those staples, they also incorporate piano, keyboard, violin, viola, cello, harp, accordion, French horn… you name it. It makes for a richer sound, something more intricate and beautiful. Every time you listen to an Arcade Fire album, you will discover a new detail that you never heard before. Not to mention, Chassagne’s vocals are absolutely superb, and add an ethereal quality to any song she lends her voice to.
The verdict? The album is beautiful in terms of musical composition, but the lyrics, although interesting, metaphoric, and poetic in style, leave something to be desired in terms of tact and respect. The Arcade Fire has an incredible sound, but if they continue insulting their fans the way they do, even subtly, I’m not sure their popularity will last too much longer.
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