The Suburbs is not a departure from Arcade Fire's past as much as it is a giant step in its evolution away from their days as a pack of excitable, socially-conscious spazzes. The Montreal ensemble still operates with grand and epic narratives and melodies, but they're now using the tension of restraint to relay message and emotion rather than injections of anxiety and adrenaline, two of the band's favorite uppers employed on predecessors, Neon Bible and Funeral.
The track at the center of its most recent melee is "Rococo," a punishing foot-stomper aimed directly at self-congratulatory, pseudo-intellectual lemmings, a group that could easily include the passionate, educated, indie-rockers in the band's fan base who walk in lockstep, are politically engaged on a seasonal basis, and exist in unchallenging environments.
Let's go downtown and talk to the modern kids/They will eat right out of your hand/Using great big words that they don't understand.
Musically, "Rococo" is elementary in its simplicity. Arcade Fire have perhaps never been so straightforward in their commitment to heavy rock and operatic imagery. Lyrically, it reads like a memo to the legions who took to the streets on November 4, 2008, now growing impatient with the fact that the president has not been able to make good on every one of his campaign promises in 18 months: You didn't read the fine print.
They're moving towards you with their colors all the same/They want to own you but they don't know what game they're playing.