August 22, 2010


Listening to the fantastic new Arcade Fire album got me thinking about how much they've changed since that first album. Doing some YouTube searching dug up this old vid, which I'm sure made it on Tony's Music Tape (RIP):

The performance styles aren't different, really (like this one, which is sweet), except the feeling is for me.

Here's why.

A scene: Fall 2004, fourth floor of Galloway Dorm, Hillsdale, Mich. A few of us are sitting on the floor, another is perched on one of those crappy rocking office chairs they gave us and Tony is on his blue "Captain of the Camping Trip!" fold-up chair. The smell of Ramen (spiced with Noodles and Co. seasoning) wafts down the hallway as we watch a man wearing a crash helmet drum the shit out of another man in a crash helmet during a giant group sing-along.

This IS freshman year.

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Blogger Tony said...

oh those seasonings

August 22, 2010 at 11:35 PM 
Blogger Tony said...

I'm glad a song like Month of May is on that album, but I think it's a bit of a dud.

The album is dynamite, though. We listened to it about 15 times over the 1,000 miles we drove to Athens, Atlanta and back this weekend.

August 22, 2010 at 11:40 PM 
Blogger M. Perkins said...

Yeah, Month of May is a dud, but I like it's placement on the album. And yeah the album's pretty much great.

I like the vignette there Jack, if vignette is the right word.

August 22, 2010 at 11:43 PM 
Blogger Chase said...

Definitely a good album.

I wish The Arcade Fire would return from Europe and play somewhere nearby.

Tony and I listened to this on the way to juggling club the other week...I think there are songs on this album that will stick with me for a very long time. They came so appropriately in my life, at the fork of major decisions and fond times with friends in a spread out city.

My favorite songs on the album are "Modern Man," "Rococo" and "Sprawl II."

...but it's also tough to choose that since I really love the album so much. I'm buying the LP in a couple of days, actually.

August 22, 2010 at 11:54 PM 
Blogger Tony said...

Looks like this will be a good place for Suburbs thoughts, so:

1) I still tend to think of the Arcade Fire as the "sound of our generation," even though I know that's a stupid way to describe a band. At the same time, they're one of the bands I love that I feel totally comfortable criticizing, sometimes harshly.

2) I'm a bit hung up on the topic of the 'burbs. I've lived there, I know about them, what more is there to say about them? I can like, for example, when Butler starts to narrate a ride back to his boyhood home, but then he quickly morphs into something about "emotion being dead." Wait? What? Then some commentary about police enforcing curfews ... (I think)? I guess when you're epic you're epic. It is what it is.

3) Favorite songs: The Suburbs (track 1), Modern Man (3), Rococo (4), We Used to Wait (13) and Sprawl II (15)

4) Katie and I got to listen to the album as the sun set on Sunday. We were driving north on U.S. 29, a divided highway that rolls and curves unlike an interstate -- but at 65 mph. We hurtled past the overgrown media grasses (state cutbacks) and then traveled Va. 6 and Va. 151 in the dark.

5) The album is definitely better than Neon Bible, but I'll wait to see how it measures to Funeral.

August 23, 2010 at 10:15 AM 
Blogger JHitts said...

"Month of May" is only an alright song, I just chose it because it was the only relativity fast song from the new album I could find them performing on television. My favorite song is actually "City With No Children." "Modern Man" and "Ready to Start" and "Sprawl II" and "Suburban War" are all really good too.

I think I'm still somewhat confused as to what exactly they're getting at with the whole suburbs thing. I read somewhere that it's "neither a love letter to, nor an indictment of, the suburbs." OK then, what is it? And what's the point? I mean, why release an entire concept album about it if it's neither one nor the other? (I think there's actually more to it than that but I thought it was weird that he would say that.)

August 23, 2010 at 3:27 PM 
Blogger M. Perkins said...

Yeah, for me City, We Used to Wait, and Sprawl II are the best. Half Light I/II and Modern Man are also really good. Frankly I like the whole album.

Re #3, Tony, I'm actually kind of a fan of the suburban dystopia genre--or some of it anyway: American Pastoral (which is not exactly suburban but close enough in content), American Beauty, A Serious Man, the Frank Bascombe books.

And I actually think the whole suburban, urban sprawl/flight phenomenon is one of the most significant and poorly understood social developments of the last 50+ years. And, as Chase can also attest, when you're driving into or out of Phoenix, you definitely start wondering if the sprawl ever ends.

I like, too, their whole "No Cars Go" type spiel too... even though it seems a little disingenuous for a band that only plays the biggest cities in the world and lives in Montreal.

Re #4, I really enjoy those sorts of ties connecting songs or albums to people and places and moments.

August 23, 2010 at 9:00 PM 
Blogger Tony said...

I'm definitely interested in the suburbia genre, but totally torn about it ... Revolutionary Road.

August 24, 2010 at 9:23 AM 

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