This week, celebrating its 10th anniversary is the titular track from Arcade Fire’s excellent The Suburbs and, as such, it’s our Song of the Week and all — funny how it all shakes out, eh?
I think it’s only right to kick off this piece with an admission to make — I don’t really get Arcade Fire. They’re good, sure, but are they really one of the best bands ever? Like ever, ever? As much as they have dropped a hot tune every once in a while, I’d hardly rank them even among their indie rock contemporarys such as Arctic Monkeys or The Strokes, let alone the feckin Beatles. That said, the one song that gives me that “OH, so that’s the hype” is The Suburbs.
Diving right in with the staggering lead melody, the thumping drums and plodding pianos, the sheer weight in the atmosphere is apparent from the offset. As the centerpiece to, in my opinion, their best album, it has that emotional gravitas that most bands could only ever wish to achieve, even some of the ones that I mentioned above (not The Beatles, obvs). I just love the seeming heavy-handedness of it all, of course juxtaposed with the complexities in the composition. As the song progresses, these rich, luscious strings begin to swell just lending to the grandiosity of the whole thing — it packs the punch of entire album in just over five minutes.
Contributing to this, obviously, is Win’s decievingly powerful vocal performance, emphasised even more on the Earls Court live video (which is easy to peep don’t worry). The vaguely nostalgia lyrics have a blurry reminiscence not unlike Smashing Pumpkins 1979, albeit with harsher tone of surreal dread. There’s a cathartic moment about halfway in where the backing instrumentation dies down so that it’s just Win and the piano, it feels so achingly personal you can’t help to be compelled by it. And despite my general indifference to band as a whole, I was compelled by it, and still am ten years later.