Released: August 2, 2010

Track List:

  1. The Suburbs
  2. Ready to Start
  3. Modern Man
  4. Rococo
  5. Empty Room
  6. City with No Children
  7. Half Light I
  8. Half Light II (No Celebration)
  9. Suburban War
  10. Month of May
  11. Wasted Hours
  12. Deep Blue
  13. We Used to Wait
  14. Sprawl I (Flatland)
  15. Sprawl II (Mountain Beyond Mountains)
  16. The Suburbs (continued)


I’d contemplated whether the first That’s My Jam I wrote would be about the more embarrassing pop album from my childhood or The Suburbs. However, since this is also the week Arcade Fire just so happens to be releasing their album Reflektor, I think it’s only appropriate to delve into why The Suburbs is an album that holds such sentimental value for me and has really shaped my taste in music.

In August of 2010, I had just started my first year of high school in the podunk town that I’d spent all my life growing up in. More specifically, I’d grown up in the suburbs, surrounded by the same people, the same classmates, the same perpetually static, sleepy environment that you only recognize if you’ve lived in a small town. I’ll be honest, I have never liked where I lived. Maybe when I was young and too innocent to care, but around high school I truly began to experience wanderlust and a desire to jump on a bus and ride far, far away from the suburbs I’d grown up in. Now as a senior in high school, my ticket to get out is so close I can almost taste it, but back in 2010, leaving felt like a foreign concept. All I could do was look around and contemplate the suburban environment I’d grown up in.

And then The Suburbs came out.

Before this point, I’d always been a casual fan of Arcade Fire, but this was also a time in my life when I was just starting to develop my musical tastes and transitioning out of the teeny-bopper pop I’d listened to in elementary school and early middle school. Aside from Perfume, I’d very slowly been leaning towards alternative artists such as R.E.M. and The Cure. The Suburbs was the album that got me into Arcade Fire. Why? Because The Suburbs is about, you guessed it, the suburbs. And as I said before, that was where I’d spent my entire childhood and adolescence.


I remember listening to the album and thinking to myself, “Yes. Someone finally gets it.” For the first time, I was listening to an album that I could relate to. An album that featured such vivid lyrical imagery, I felt like the songwriters had walked into my neighborhood and written about it. What really makes The Suburbs such an important album to me is really the subject matter and the execution. I’ve always been drawn to themes of escapism, especially in music. The Suburbs not only explores that idea but so many other feelings that I’ve experienced in the suburbs: isolation, community, nostalgia, conformity, restlessness, curiosity, and so many more emotions that would take me a whole paragraph to list out.

What I really like about The Suburbs is that it’s not a condemnation of suburban life, nor is it a celebration. It is merely an exploration, picking apart both the perks and the downfalls of living in the suburbs. And as an adolescent, I latched onto those ideas about suburban life. In a weird way, it kind of made my life more bearable at the time, in a cliched, teen-angst kind of way. Even as I’m nearing adulthood now, the themes from The Suburbs still strike a chord with me. For those reasons, I consider The Suburbs to be an album that has hugely impacted not only my taste in music, but also some of my world views, including how I feel about living in the sprawl that is the suburbs.