I've had to spend more time than usual at work this week to take care of a big software project, which in the end has boiled down to a few days of getting to work before the sun came up, and leaving after it went down. The full moon just kinda followed me all the way to the office on Monday, and that was the first day that it felt like the weather realized what was going on and snapped into the appropriate temperature zone. The biscuit truck guy was wearing a fleece instead of a Hawaiian shirt, and it kind of felt like time to retire the bubblegum summer pop and punk playlist I'd been listening to since May.
I put on some spookier sounds to start (Lord Huron, we'll get there eventually), and then somehow ended up back on that old Echosmith song, "Cool Kids," which flipped right into their only other big single, and then"Reflektor," which, hang on, is that a cover of the title track from that Arcade Fire album? I popped it on to check, and sure enough, yeah, that's this song. I let that album run for a bit, and enjoyed it way more than I did the only other time I listened to it - back in 2013; the two discs on loan from the Howard County library system while I drove to go watch the Super Bowl at Gabi Garcia's house. It's kind of weird that I have such a specific memory of an album that I found mostly forgettable? Either way, I think I appreciated it a little more now - it's definitely going for something different from "The Suburbs," more dancey, less morose, equally pretentious. But then, I did the thing I always do whenever I listen to a bit of Arcade Fire - I started up "The Suburbs" again to see if I liked those other new tracks anywhere near as much as I love these old familiar ones, and yeah, sure enough, at least for me, nothing will ever come close to this album.
I don't really know what it is, but if I had to guess, I think I'd say it's because it was like the first non-Christian, non-Beatles album I ever listened to? It was the beginning of high school, my dad showed us this really neat Chrome thing that was scored with "We Used To Wait," and for some reason I decided that I needed to listen to the album the track came from, so I did the same thing I later did with "Reflektor" and put the album on hold at the library. When it finally came in, I skipped through most of the tracks to get to "We Used to Wait," but the song right before, "Deep Blue," just opened with these super haunting vocals and guitar sounds, so I stopped there, and fell in love. I listened to a few of the other tracks, mostly disjointed from each other, but somehow still decided that this album was now my new favorite thing ever. I remember being really excited and defensive when it won at the Grammys, trying to explain to someone in my class who cared about the Grammys that "actually" it was a really cool album and was way better than whatever Katy Perry and Lady Gaga and eminem had put out that year. (Honestly, looking at those other albums now - "Teenage Dream," "Fame Monster," and "Recovery" respectively - I'm shocked I didn't get made fun of in high school, because those are great albums and I was just a sheltered dork who thought that the Kardashians were the crab aliens from Star Trek.)
After that, I put the album on my iPod nano, and would listen to it the rare mornings that I'd go for a run or would have to shovel snow. It just kind of became a thing I was into, and I tried my best to get my friends to be into it too. (Shoutouts to Kyle Weigle for getting into it with me, and still remembering that "Deep Blue" is my favorite track on that album.) Either way, I listen to "The Suburbs" now almost annually, and I'm just always kinda surprised by how many of those weird lyrics I know by heart, and how deeply I've internalized and related to this legitimately corny album about how like, "the suburbs are killing the heart of America, man." I think it's because the whole thing is just the right amount of sad and reflective (and pretentious), and all the melodies are just super catchy. Nothing goes on for too long, and each track has something different and interesting to focus on before wrapping back in on itself and ending with such a quiet, serious reprisal. Anyways, I think the thing about "The Suburbs" that's most important to me is the ending message from "We Used to Wait," about writing a letter, taking your true self, putting it on the page, making it real, and then getting back out there and putting the waiting to an end.
I dunno man, I just think it's neat.