on 4 September 2010
Buying a new album from a favourite band is always a stressful process.
I purchased the album blind (or is it deaf) on the day of release and was initially disappointed as the new offering was neither a Funeral II or an appendix to the Neon Bible. Thankfully, as is often the case, a difficult initial listen normally signals future potential and the album is now a fixture of the playlist on my phone, laptop and car.
Like the other reviewers, I can hear influences from Blondie to Springsteen in addition to the common Arcade Fire "wall of sound" elements. Current favourites are the "Suburban War" and "Rococo". My only criticism would be that I would have liked to hear more vocals from Regine, who's style does some resemblance to Bjork on occasion.
The nature of Arcade Fire's music does not (in my opinion) suit 30 second previews, if you are a new to the band try to listen to a few tracks in full before deciding.
on 28 June 2011
Ignore the First review! he posted the review long before its release without any information on the final product.
YOUR GETTING A REALLY GOOD DEAL HERE!
This is definite buy for any arcade fire or any new fan whos heard any of suburbs singles so far.
Its Great Package. Firstly you get Original 16 tracks of "The Suburbs". All excellent. On top of that you get 2 new Mixes of existing tracks and 2 New Songs + A rare Demo of Sprawl 1. Culture War and Speaking Tongues are both great songs, and speaking in tongues features David Byrne of talking heads. Wasted Hours has been redone. you then get a code which allows you to download 2 more songs for free. so overall you get 20 songs on this album.
You then get a DVD of "scenes from the suburbs" by Spike Jones, Its a hipster Movie, buts its a nice fan service to arcade fire fans and accompanies the album well. then also get a making of video on how arcade fire made the album. The video for the suburbs is actually act as trailer for the Movie.
Finally you get 60 page book which includes some fine photography that looks in to the Movie and includes the images of band etc alongside a full lyrics of whole album. Was this needed? probably not but its nice feature that they added.
overall if your new to arcade fire, purchasing this album is better then purchasing the standard version. If you've already bought the excellent original your getting a lot of fan service from this album, this is more then 2 bonus tracks, its one of best deluxe versions I've seen.
After the brilliance of their debut Funeral, Arcade Fire seemed to be in danger of never being able to match it. It was so good, the second album was almost inevitably going to fall short. Neon Bible was never less than good, and had its great moments (No Cars Go, Intervention, Windowsill) but seemed to be hinting at heading in a U2 style direction of preachy bombast, and suggested they might ultimately become just another 'big' stadium band. Which makes the varied and expanded musical palate of The Suburbs all the more welcome. It is an outstanding piece of work which shows just what a great band this is.
Unlike either of the first 2 albums, this one got me on first listen, and has been getting better and better ever since. A month on repeat on my car cd player has not detracted from its sustained excellence. 16 tracks could be insufferable from a less interesting band(and could be regarded as commercial suicide in the age of the ipod shuffle), but here it ensures there is so much to discover that it takes weeks to get at all tired of it. I don't think I have ever heard an album of this length without a single bad track (Rococo is the only one I sometimes skip) and where you don't want to pick out favourites, but play the whole thing.
Of course it helps that there is a continuity of theme and lyrics throughout the album, as was the case with Funeral, but here more so, with repeated lines and themes turning up in different songs connecting the whole thing and giving the album a circularity and feeling that this is a piece of work in several parts, not just a collection of songs. But there is also a variety of styles here that the band has not previously explored, from the punky Month of May to the electro pop of Sprawl 2. Overall it is more restarined and low key without so much of the massive crescendos we are used to hearing from them, but with more subtlety and layers to discover. Some of my personal favourites include the 2 Half Light tracks, which are both beautifully atmospheric and evocative, and sound like nothing they have done before; Suburban War which slowly builds momentum and emotion, and contains the great lines 'now the cities we live in could be distant stars/ and I search for you in every passing car'; and City With No Children with its irresistable repeated riff.
Lyrically and vocally its easily Win Butler's best effort, gone are the occasinally clunky rhymes and in its place is maturity of voice and songcraft. Regine, who was a little in the background on Neon Bible also sounds great on lead vocals on Empty Rooms and Sprawl 2, and the two of them duet to great effect on Half Light 1.
The Suburbs sounds more like a sequel to Funeral than NB did, both musically and with its themes of neighbourhood and growing up, but it also shows Arcade Fire have moved on from Funeral, expanded their range, and matured with new subtleties and nuances, whilst living up to the promise of their debut. A briliantly crafted record from a band in a league of their own.
on 5 April 2012
I had previously heard this album before I purchased it, but i was un-aware of the intelligence this amazing LP contained. I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a love for music and for a great price all the bonus features are worth it, it comes with a limited edition cover, an Arcade Fire postcard and pictures of the film created with lyrics from the album.
The actual album is an epic soundtrack to an amazing story that unfolds with the epic, artistic and abstract short film. This is what i look for when trying to add beautiful sounds to my music collective.
I feel proud to own this stunning album.
on 27 July 2011
I have just received the deluxe version of The Suburbs and I felt like I had to leave a feedback. The packaging is excellent, CD +DVD+ 76-page Booklet all in a nice cardboard box. But what makes a difference is the music, The Suburbs is an excellent album and here we have it completed with two new tracks (Culture War and Speaking In Tongues)which are quite good, especially Speaking in Tongues with David Byrne (ex Talking Heads) and a long version of Wasted Hours. Not only that you get a DVD with a Behind The Scenes documentary and the short film Scenes From The Suburbs directed by Spike Jonze. And on top you get a code for download two songs (one demo and a long remix). You won't get it wrong with Arcade Fire but if you want to buy The Suburbs, the Deluxe version won't disappoint you.
on 4 December 2010
I cannot praise Arcade Fire highly enough. I have been listening to music since the 60s and have a huge record collection but this album is the jewel in the crown. The band's song writing ability and musicianship is astonishingly competent. Somehow the music echoes familiar styles and as a result is very accessible yet the final product is totally unique. There is nothing else out there like it, these guys can pack more ideas in to a single song than most bands manage in a lifetime of recording. One minute you have the jagged cut of a punk guitar and then you're listening to a soaring multilayered chorus all being driven forward by a relentless toe tapping rhythm. The lyrics are very personal and meaningful yet despite their sometimes sombre outlook the tunes are incredibly uplifting with the best anthemic choruses you are ever likely to hear and I haven't even started talking about the amazing array of instruments and the musical arrangements.
The album is a bone fide epic; it may be the only piece of music you ever need to listen to, certainly my choice for the album that has to somehow survive the total destruction of the planet. Sorry I've run out of superlatives, you owe to yourselves not to let this one pass you by.
Ignore it at you peril!!
on 30 August 2012
Yes. this is one of the best albums - I do listen to alot of music and this album glows.
These guys compose brilliant songs and after one listen I could not wait for their next effort.
So Ive been trying to imagine it.
And I cant.
The addition of the two new tracks to this edition has helped. Speaking with Toungues is amazing and should not have been left off the original release.
Still - this is Arcades best album, and rather scarily, I still think they have an even better one in them. There's always something missing to an Arcade record - a nagging feeling..........oh yes, that's it.....more songs.
on 1 June 2014
I hated this band before, and haven't given them much thought since, but this is still a pretty good album. Ok, I maybe old, demented, up to my neck in cement, purple in a certain light, a cretin, hiding behind your curtains whistling birdsong right now after the fashion of black people in Kurt Vonnegut's wonderful 'Breakfast of Champions', biding my time, riding a unicycle, unclear, clapping, in need of a slap, slurring my words, worrying sheep, showing a goat at the county fair, fastening my belt, belly up on a sand bank somewhere in Germany, juicy, just taking a moment, mad, daft, directly related to Duke Ellington, an elephant, fecund, defunct: defunct, funereal, really fun, unhelpful, but I think my opinion still counts for something, don't you?
on 26 July 2011
Having given 'the Suburbs' 5 stars obviously I love it but I am a fan.I already had the original from when it first came out so was it worth buying for the 2 extra songs & the video.The songs I like but the video I'm not so sure about.So I would suggest if you never bought the original buy this instead.If you're mad like me buy them both.
on 26 April 2011
Arcade Fire are one of those rare bands capable of such consistent and effortless feats of greatness, it almost becomes too easy to take for granted.
They returned seeming to have matured, aged and developed by vastly more than the five years since the release of Funeral. The quirks and youthful rallying cries of that era-defining debut are long gone. In their place, the subtler, more restrained sound of a band nostalgic for a bygone age, and seemingly on the brink of a cultural apocalypse.
It's a concept album in the very best sense, packed with deft touches of attention-to-detail and a narrative punctuated with musical motifs. Even the artwork was a visual metaphor - eight different varieties, yet all essentially the same, just like the vast and interchangeable 'endless suburbs, stretched out thin and dead' that were once home.
Of course, the journey that begins with 'grab your mother's keys, we're leaving' packs in more than just barren, bland landscapes and 'the modern kids' who live there now. The disillusionment runs parallel with a sense of urgency at wanting to live before its too late: 'So can you understand / why I want a daughter while I'm still young? / I want to hold her hand / And show her some beauty / Before the damage is done.'
Musically there's a light and shade that makes this 16 track opus seem almost short, while avoiding the overbearing earnestness which previous album Neon Bible arguably fell into. So Sprawl I, an almost funereal lament to lost youth in which Win Butler sings of 'the loneliest day of my life', is followed by the Régine Chassagne sung Sprawl II, which - in a quite unexpected move - sounds like Blondie doing disco. Well, specifically, Heart of Glass.
An album about the inertia that exists in that gap between growing up and growing old ultimately left you feeling glad to be alive now to appreciate a once-in-a-generation brilliant band at the peak of their powers.
It's befitting of their complexity that, in making a record about the transitory nature of yesterday's values, fading childhood memories and dissolving landscapes, Arcade Fire produced a work destined for lasting greatness.