Suburban War

On this next look at The Suburbs, we’re on to “Suburban War,” the ninth track on the album.

Today’s song strikes me as being like a soliloquy in a play. Perhaps it’s an interlude meant to catch the audience up on what’s happening in the suburbs as the young people get ready to grow up, but in the meantime, wage war against the establishment and its corporate greed, symbolized by the impersonal streets and buildings around them.

“This town’s so strange
They built it to change
And while we sleep we know the streets get rearranged

And my old friends, we were so different then
Before your war against the suburbs began
Before it began

Now the music divides
Us into tribes
You grew your hair so I grew mine
You said the past won’t rest
Until we jump the fence
And leave it behind”

And later,

“But you started a war
That you can’t win
They keep erasing all the streets we grew up in

Now the music divides
Us into tribes
You choose your side and I’ll choose my side”

(from “Suburban War,” by Win Butler, Regine Chassagne, Will Butler, Jeremy Gara, Timothy Kingsbury, Richard Parry)

Like other songs from the album, “Suburban War” also revisits themes from earlier in the story, like this, almost verbatim from opening, title track:

“In the suburbs I
I learned to drive
And you told me we would never survive
So grab your mother’s keys we leave tonight”

The song is at a somewhat slower piece again (andante, anyone?) that invites the listener in to curl up around lead singer Win Butler’s storytelling.

Maybe the whole work could be a stage play as much as a rock opera; at any rate, it’s truly theatrical and once I “clicked” with the album, the drama woven throughout the collection became one of its more foundational and appealing features for me.

It’s been challenging to select just seven songs from the sixteen in the collection. There are several terrific ones I’ve skipped over; the only piece on the album that I don’t care too much for is “Rococo.”

I’ll finish this week with two more selections, but I also want to feature what I see as the natural conclusion to the work — the ending credits, if you will (to add the motion picture as yet another analogy to the notions of rock opera or stage play for this visit to The Suburbs), and will do that on Monday. I hope you’ll stick around and check it out.

And finally, today is the birthday of one of my brothers. He was telling me yesterday how much he was enjoying this week’s series and the album. So today’s post goes out to him with my love.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. And, why not leave a comment to let me know what you think of this post, or series of posts, on The Suburbs… I’d love to read your reflections!

This is the official audio for the song from Arcade Fire’s YouTube channel. Please remember to click on “thumbs-up” on if the video if you enjoyed the artists’ work. And of course, buying their music is another way to support the artists.

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