Monday, December 06, 2010

Staff Infection: Listening and Reflecting: A Yearly Ritual

I know that the basis for our weekly write-ups is to showcase what one specific person is jamming out to. To be honest, as soon as Thanksgiving hits, it’s ‘year-end’ time for me. A time to start celebrating the past year, which we survived and a time to reflect on all of the great music that we received throughout the year. So as I prepared my workings, I decided to offer up a few choice and reflective thoughts on what I consider to be the best album of the year, Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs. In many ways, it’s fitting because we’re in the first official week of December and I’m delivering what can safely be heralded as ‘my most listened to album of the year.’ It’s tops in almost every possible way for me and even after two blistering masterpieces before it, this one proudly cements their stay as one of the greatest bands of our time.

A part of me is always trying to be the objective kind, always reaching for the fairer side of writing about music. And perhaps that’s the most honorable anyone can try to be when delivering some sort of judgment. But in the end, the way I feel about the music doesn’t ever need to be exclusively objective; in fact, hardly at all. Take the line “So can you understand why I want a daughter while I’m still young? I wanna hold her hand and show her some beauty before all of this damage is done…but if it’s too much to ask, if it’s too much to ask, then send me a son?” and how reductively less impactful it is when presented here in text? But I’m sure that for all of us that have heard “The Suburbs,” and for those of us that have truly felt The Suburbs, there is a lot of emotion spilling over.

In the end, it’s probably the album that’s moved me the most – there’s already a great deal of nostalgia encompassing the walls – and it’s a jolt to hear simply because of its multitude of styles. In the middle of the regular CD version is “Suburban War” (the vinyl version has it as the penultimate song and it feels completely different) and it’s the album’s send-off to greater proportions. There’s the foreshadowing in “The Suburbs,” by the time the explosion hits, “all my old friends, they don’t know me now.” It’s a substantial impact, most definitely and it resonates for a long time after the song ends. The beautiful thing is that at that point, we’re just halfway and there are still seven more thrilling rides to go, beginning with “Month of May.” It’s a spectacular package, all on one album and at the bottom are all three songs.

(I’m sorry there’s no picture of me again. I haven’t gotten around to taking one yet. Still, Molly does more than a fine job of representing me, so here she is again.)

Each Monday a different Green Light Go staff member will let you in on what songs have infected their ears for the week, while giving you the opportunity to share in the experience yourself.

This week: Bryan Sanchez, Bio-Writer-at-Large