1. The Suburbs
Best Of 2010 Albums - Arcade Fire

The best band in the world just got better. Taking their perennial themes of loss, fear, control and time they’ve re-woven their epic art rock around their fascinating suburban theme that literally lies on our own doorstep, as Régine herself described to Clash: “The image of the suburbs is not very glamorous and it’s not something people are very passionate about, but there are still dramatic stories that happen there. Everyone has their own little suburb story.”

The results combined the startlingly unique baroque atmosphere of ‘Funeral’ with the concept-heavy nature of ‘Neon Bible’ to take them up a gear and into a space where few rivals could dare to follow. Taking a year off after concluding their ‘Neon Bible’ tour, the band rediscovered their love for each other doing “normal things” before striding into their third album as if it were their first.

Cramming narratives and observations from this richly mined seam, sixteen tracks squeal across unconventional structures, fascinating prologues, beautiful epilogues and even a disco track found in ‘Sprawl II’. With an album architecture that makes most modern albums feel like a hasty EP, ‘The Suburbs’ is a dense, often fleshy journey through the band’s lives, both together and them growing up separately - the Butler brothers in Houston, whilst Régine was raised in Quebec. Its strength lies in its depth; you’ll be hard pushed to find a more solidly recorded nor passionately delivered album elsewhere in 2010’s finer moments.

As some commentators recoiled at the mundane concept found on such a magnificent recording, singer Win Butler told Clash: “I think a lot of artists spend their whole career writing about the same ideas. Francis Ford Coppola keeps looking at the same things in every movie he makes. Bruce Springsteen is singing about the same thing in every record he makes. I don’t know why that is. I think you’re drawn to the subject matter you’re drawn to. A lot of times, as you change, you approach it from a different perspective and get different insights. I think that’s what we’ve done here.”

Arcade Fire’s third album provoked much thought on the nature of a classic album and when it may garner that status. Yet merely a few months after its release we are reveling in ‘The Suburbs’ being born a classic. We urge you to seek it out to bask in its detail, not just as a labour of love, but a labour of life.

Best Bit: ‘We Used To Wait’ is as full force as any of their records; all seven strata angled firmly at the heavens, with a goosebump-inducing break.


Arcade Fire graced the cover of Issue 56 of Clash Magazine, read our interview with them HERE.

Read ClashMusic's original review of Arcade Fire's 'The Suburbs' HERE


Find out the rest of Clash's Top 40 Albums of 2010, in association with AllSaints, HERE.

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