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Posts Tagged ‘Tokyo Police Club’

I have finally emerged from my work bunker to write a few lines about something I have listening to.  First off, let’s quickly recap some of the stuff that I’ve listened to over the last few weeks:

Tokyo Police Club-Champ
The Gaslight Anthem-American Slang
Against Me!-White Crosses
Stars-The Five Ghosts
The School of Seven Bells-Disconnect from Desire

A quick word on what I found surprising. I really enjoyed both the School of Seven Bells and Stars records. The funny thing is they are both in the “Electronic” genre, which is something that I normally don’t get into. But the songs are well crafted and have good melodies. Check out “Wasted Daylight” on the Stars record and “Dust Devil” on the School of Seven Bells.

Now, onto the main event. In the world of Indie Rock, there aren’t too many names that are bigger than Arcade Fire. For those that haven’t heard their album Funeral, I’m sorry. Go pick that up as soon as possible. After you’ve digested that, pick up their new album The Suburbs. It’s rare for me to listen to one album multiple times in one day, but I think I’ve listened to this about 10 times over the past 2 days.

The album starts out with the title track “The Suburbs.” It sounds unassuming with a gentle piano rift that has a backyard BBQ feel to it. As a fan of backyard BBQ’s, I am all for this. The loose, joyful sound quickly deteriorates into “Ready To Start.” Win Butler croons about businessmen drinking his blood and wanting to be alone. A fairly stark contrast to singing about learning to drive in the Suburbs.

The funny thing about this record is that in a sense it is smaller that the previous two albums. “Funeral” dealt with big questions. Life, death and heartache. “Neon Bible” was more spiritual dealing with religion and a whole bunch of things I didn’t understand. “The Suburbs” is more focused. It deals with the trapped feeling of being in the suburbs and the trapped feelings that some feel in the suburbs (I am a suburbs liver and do not feel this way).

One of the things I like about this album is there are phrases that reappear throughout the album. “Grab your mothers keys/We’re leaving” appears in the title track. Then in “Suburban War” we hear this, “So grab your mother’s keys we leave tonight.”  I don’t know why, but I love this stuff. I don’t think enough artists incorporate running themes or characters.

“Suburban War” is an interesting song because it comes smack in the middle of the album. And at first listen, it sounds like the album is coming to a close. However, the next song, “Month of May,” is a clear start to Act II of the album. If you are scoring at home, I would say Act I represents the feeling of a need to escape the daily routine of The Suburbs. “Month of May” sounds like, to me anyway, the escape. Over the course of Act II though, I am reminded of Red from “Shawshank Redemption.” These guys just don’t know how to exist outside of the Suburbs.

This all comes to a head in “The Sprawl.” This two-part epic chronicles the return to The Suburbs (Took a drive into the sprawl/To find the house where we used to stay in). Part I has a defeated feel to it. Sort of like when you realized your parents were right all along and now you have to own up to it. Part II is less morose in texture, until you listen to the lyrics (They heard me singing and they told me to stop/Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock).  The song continues to chronicle feeling trapped between shopping malls (Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains/And there’s no end in sight). Clearly they have returned.

We end our journey back where we started, in “The Suburbs-continued.” Decidedly more sad and less hopeful than the first track of the album, Win Butler is remembering the suburbs in a far more painful way than in the first track. He sounds like he’s home, but not happy about it.

Well talk about a Sprawl! I wrote way too much on this and broke one my rules: don’t try to interpret an album. Oh well, it’s good fun. And everyone who reads this should buy “The Suburbs” and put it on repeat for at least 2 weeks straight. Happy listening.

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