Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Review: The Suburbs by Arcade Fire

Below is my review of Arcade Fire's new album The Suburbs.  It was released today at midnight and Amazon.com is offering it for only $3.99 on MP3 download at the moment.  Is it worth $3.99?  Barely.

This is the review I have posted at Amazon.com.

I really wanted to like this album. But I'm not an uncritical fanboy, so I can't. Sure, I don't hate it, it isn't bad. But it isn't special like some would have you believe. Don't drink that Kool Aid blindly.

My favorite part of the album as a whole is the overall ebb and flow of pace and style that keeps it at least interesting and listenable. It is music you can put on while driving down the road, and then tune out while you think of something else. But that isn't what I want in my music. I want it to grab me, to change me, to make me feel something, but mostly all I get from this is indifferent meh.

Some of the tracks really seem like they are trying to hard to be different. There is nothing wrong with different, but being different just to be different almost never works out unless your name is Beck.

1. The Suburbs - solid start, creative and catchy.
2. Ready to Start - R.E.M. does this better. So did The Cure.
3. Modern Man - It's like they stole it from 80's Devo and modernized it. Not bad!
4. Rococo - I like the rich musical sound, but the vocals don't add to it.
5. Empty Room - U2 meets Bjork. Not bad, but not great either.
6. City With No Children - U2 does this so much better.
7. Half Light I - Modern Pink Floyd - really good!
8. Half Light II (No Celebration) - Kinda Faith No More cross with INXS - and I really like it!
9. Suburban War - a modern take on acid rock? Wanted to like it, but can't.
10. Month of May - This one should be really high energy in concert, but doesn't seem to translate on the album.
11. Wasted Hours - Love it! Catchy, makes you want to air strum along.
12. Deep Blue - This is the rich sound like Rococo, but I like it much better. The vocals add to it here. Probably my favorite track.
13. We Used to Wait - Like the lyrics, you can keep the music.
14. Sprawl I (Flatland) - Good emotional "feeling" song. Easily blends into the background of life.
15. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) - Ace of Bass? ABBA? Really?
16. The Suburbs (continued) - Like Neil Young might sound today if he were 35 years younger. And that's a good thing. Great end to the album.

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