Column: 10 years of another indie rock masterpiece

Ryan Meyer

I’m a month behind on this one, but Aug. 2 marked the 10th anniversary of an indie rock masterpiece that will be discussed for decades to come and is regarded as a cornerstone of sophisticated, lush rock music.

I’m speaking, of course, of “The Suburbs,” by Canadian band Arcade Fire. It’s the band’s third album, coming after a nearly flawless debut and a solid sophomore release. “The Suburbs” takes the youthful energy and sadness of “Funeral” and combines it with the anxiety of “Neon Bible” to form a handful of anthems and plenty of tracks to compliment them.

The three most notable songs begin the album, and I think the title track is the most addicting out of the bunch. Singer Win Butler’s falsetto in the chorus is too easy to sing along to, and the guitar riff is simple but effective. This song is followed by “Ready to Start,” an empowering and motivational tune. The music video for the song seems to be an alternate or live version that I occasionally prefer over the studio version. The bass resonates more in the video and the energy seen in the crowd and by the band members make the song all that much more exciting.

“Modern Man” relaxes the listener after the tension of the first two songs and features more straightforward guitar lines, along with Arcade Fire’s signature of including so many instruments that one can’t decide which one is making the song so great.

Arcade Fire has mastered a very particular niche of hammering the same notes over and over again throughout a song on various keyboard-like instruments. This can be seen in “Rebellion (Lies),” “Black Wave/Bad Vibrations,” and this album’s “Deep Blue” and “We Used to Wait.”

This is not a bad thing. Every song this tactic appears in moves more than their fellow tracks, regardless of the speed the notes are being played at. “Deep Blue” is a great example. It’s not a fast song in the least, but the listener can still move with the song because of the momentum the piano provides in the pre-chorus of the song. The tension seen in the first two and a half minutes of the song is once again released with Butler’s falsetto and more cathartic guitar work.

This album won a Grammy for a reason. “The Suburbs” took home Album of the Year and remains a work of art and should continue to stand out in music history.


Ryan Meyer is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]