Picture me sitting on my childhood bed in the house I grew up in, which is located in an unassuming little town in North Central Massachusetts and is not, as most might think, “just outside of Boston.” It’s just outside of nowhere, and it’s just begun to thunderstorm outside, which signals a welcome but probably too-brief relief, since it’s been so unbearably hot and humid that I realize, quite lucidly, that I’ve been romanticizing East Coast summers to the nth degree. (I can’t sleep at night, and it’s not so much my primordial twin bed as it is the insidious heat that sidles in between me and my intended dreams.) And as I work away the time I should be spending vacationing (ah, the unintended curse of freelancing!) until my flight leaves on Wednesday night to carry me across the continent like a stowaway in the belly of a wide-winged, extra speedy bird, the life to which I’ll be returning has been crumbling like pie crust dough with too much flour—but with more aplomb.
Naturally, I’ve been seeking an equally morose soundtrack to my life. Because I am not close enough to a bona fide city, it doesn’t follow that I would know what it’s like to live in the suburbs, and, as a San Francisco resident, I’m not living there now, but I’m pretty sure I suffered as much as (if not more than) the kids that technically inhabited them—and I’m suffering now. For those of you who haven’t heard the new album, don’t let me misguide you: it is, actually, full of jaunty, infectious, thigh-slapping tunes, but this one matches my melancholy mood right now, and I’ve been listening to it a lot. In the car. That I’ve been driving. To get places. Welcome back to the very outer echelons of suburbia, Sarah. (As a side note, it’s somewhat ironic since I first learned about Arcade Fire when I was living in Boston, from a cool coworker named Erik, and by the time I got around to listening to the copies of Funeral and Neon Bible that he had burned for me, their show at the Paradise—my preferred small venue in the city—had come and gone. I have yet to see them live, but in the meantime, I have this.)
Who: Arcade Fire
What: The Suburbs
Where: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Why: “Now that San Francisco’s gone / I guess I’ll just pack it in / Wanna wash away my sins / In the presence of my friends.”