The Top 50 Albums of Year 2010… #14 ARCADE FIRE “The Suburbs”
14. ARCADE FIRE “The Suburbs”
It’s hard to filter through the shit, more often than not, when it comes to heavily-hyped-hipster acts like Arcade Fire. Do you bother, or is it a case of unexplainable adulation? In the case of Arcade Fire, particularly with “The Suburbs” – their most mature and adult-sounding album yet, the answer is an enormously resounding ‘yes.’
A range of influences seep through The Suburbs; everybody from Bruce Springsteen, Blondie, a historical appreciation of dance and electronica and hints (minor hints) of Radiohead make Fire’s Suburban visit one of the most eclectic (and all the better for it) musical visions of 2010.
The Motels-esque licks of folky “Modern Man” is excitingly ‘pop’ for a band that’s heralded as being somewhat Alternative, as is the thrilling “Empty Room”, whose chorus is – and this should definitely be celebrated – taken right out of the ABBA songbook, a moment beautifully glorified even more-so by the vocal magnificence of Régine Chassagne. “Ready To Start” harbours one of the records best and most relevantly observant lines; “I would rather be alone, then pretend I feel alright,” but the whole album is full of a somewhat holy-series of genius, beautifully crafted one-liners and, at times, negatively charming observations.
But the boldest and truly most spectacular moment on Suburbs is “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”, which rings in towards the end of the record to produce what can only be described as being what AIR might sound like if they met up with Olivia Newton-John in a 1979 discotheque. Heavenly.