10 Years of Arcade Fire’s Suburbs (Album Review)
Indie music is experiencing its Golden Age. Billboard highlights how indie artists are releasing music at a
rapid pace thanks to music streaming platforms and other mediums located on the internet. However,
it’s important to remember that this wasn’t always the case — that indie music wasn’t always as popular
(or accessible) as it is today.
Arcade Fire is one of the bands that pioneered indie-rock and ushered it into the mainstream. Their
debut album, 2004’s Funeral, opened the floodgates and paved the way for a multitude of indie bands
all across the globe. However, the album that really cemented their place as one of the best ever indie-
rock bands was 2010’s Suburbs. So, now is as good a time as ever to look back on this iconic album and
see how it holds up against modern music. If you want to know more about Suburbs, read on for a closer
examination of this iconic album!
Suburbs in Retrospect
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that people were befuddled when Suburbs won the award for album of the year at the Grammy Awards back in 2011. They beat out more established acts such as
Eminem and Lady Gaga, which immediately put them in the limelight.
As more people started paying more attention the more perplexed they became. Watching Arcade Fire
live is a unique experience. They looked like an armada, given how many of them take the stage at the
same time, armed to the teeth with all sorts of instruments ranging from electric guitars to Moog
synthesisers. Given this, it’s not surprising that the tracks on Suburbs can get quite complex when it
comes to composition.
Songs like “Rococo” standout, a track that sounds like a mix of music from 18th century France
combined with modern pop sensibilities. It is this sort of daring creativity that made Arcade Fire so
great. While Arcade Fire is mostly known for these songs with sprawling instrumentals and intricate
compositions, Win Butler’s vocal prowess cannot be understated. Butler’s voice shines through when
he’s singing on a Shure SM58 that brings out the best of his voice with great clarity and warmth. This is
evident in tracks such as “City with No Children”, as Arcade Fire ditches the tricks that made them
famous. The track is a beautifully sung a cautionary tale that talks about a post-apocalyptic world devoid
of youth and all the wonderful things that come with it, showing that nothing is lost when the band opts
to go with a much more minimalist setup.
Suburbs holds up pretty well, even by today’s standards. Some may even argue that the band would
enjoy a much better run if they existed in today’s musical climate, as audiences continue to become
more and more open to different styles of music. Indeed, a lot has changed in the last 10 years but
Suburbs is an album that’s frozen in time — a musical period piece that reflects both the anxieties and
hopefulness of the early 2010s.
If you enjoyed this article and are looking for new music to listen to, you should also check out our
review of Radium Moon’s latest album.
Specially written for DROPOUTentertainment.ca
Review by: Raelle Jaice
Photo Credit: Anders Jensen-Urstad under CC BY-SA 3.0