My first Arcade Fire album was The Suburbs, which is, frankly, pretty embarrassing to/for me. I had heard a song here and there before, most notably the version of Wake Up that they recorded for the first, absolutely perfect Where the Wild Things Are trailer:[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r–oMLtql7Q%5D
Aside: I haven’t seen that movie since I saw it in the theater, pre-Zoe. I liked it then but didn’t feel a real connection, for reasons that I could only articulate as, “I’ve never been a 9-year-old boy?” Rewatching the trailer now, I’m feeling pretty deeply moved, so… rewatch time!
Anyway, so the pre-Suburbs Arcade Fire albums are pretty special, as I found out on fervent listens when I finally needed a break from playing The Suburbs over and over again for four months straight. But they’re nothing compared to The Suburbs, which is that rare artistic masterpiece that is incredibly accessible. I knew that I would be listening to it compulsively after hearing just one track, and that I’d be filling a need as basic and human as drinking water when we’re thirsty.
Of course though, I eventually moved on to the other albums, and reluctantly to non-Arcade Fire music after that. But it’s been a few years now, and earlier this week, I had a dream where I had a great idea for a bar name (seriously, I dream about some mundane shit.), and then waking up to realize that it was Wasted Hours, the name of one of the perfect tracks from The Suburbs. Then I saw this video, the amazing elderly chorus group Young @ Heart (themselves the subject of an incredible 2007 documentary) covering another Suburbs track, Modern Man, and lending it an even deeper resonance, and you guys, I cried. Obviously.[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9vdw-N4Z3o%5D
I have The Suburbs on repeat now, and who knows, this run might last another few months again. All I know is that this music makes me know and love life more, and what else can you ask for from art?
PS This is the same album that won the Grammys for Album of the Year in 2011, which is so incredibly well-deserved, but this also drew the ire of many of the folks who hadn’t heard of them, and were really really upset that more seemingly worthwhile albums like, you know, Katy Perry’s, were beat. Which in turn led to awesome tweets like this:
(Photo from the truly amazing Who Is Arcade Fire? Tumblr)