Moody and languid, The Suburbs is Arcade Fire's latest and greatest album. Bashfully discovering this gem about 4 months after its release, I was amazed at the change of pace from previous Arcade Fire tracks. While former releases (such as Neighborhood #1) proved evocative and trance-like, their latest album is purely transformative.
An immediate standout is Ready to Start. "If the businessmen drink my blood, like the kids in art school said they would - I guess I'll just begin again, you say can we still be friends? Well if I was scared, I would, and if I was bored you know I would..." Not only does the lyricism on this song command a sort of Holden Caulfield nuance, it serves as a great introduction to the album's tone as a whole; that of an indie extravaganza that is simultaneously semi-detached and drenched in sentiment.
Another standout is Modern Man, with a deliciously Kings-of-Leon flavor. "So I wait in line I'm a modern man; maybe when you're older you will understand; why you don't feel right - why you can't sleep at night." On the orchestral Half Light I the album climbs the heights of its creative pinnacle; seamlessly carving out a timeless hipster-slow-dance-anthem. This song is by far the most genuinely alternative, screaming out to be used in combination with black and white still-lifes or as the backdrop for a Sofia Coppola film. "Oh this city's changed so much since I was a little child, I pray to God I won't live to see, the death of everything that's wild." Stripped down yet complex, The Suburbs is a timely amalgamation of all things starkly beautiful.