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Life in the Suburbs

August 22, 2011



While searching for a digital booklet for Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs (sick of my current desktop image), I came across this ridiculous claim (that’s still awesome, and shaming me for not writing it first – there, I said it.)




When The Suburbs came out a year ago, I went on my lunch break, copped it in excitement… but wasn’t ready for it. That’s the best explanation I have for not… well, liking it when I first heard it, to feeling that it wasn’t written for me – for this time I’m in, for the changes I was going through, and for who I just might become.

It’s been on most of my office charts (someone do the math); when I lost my car it was the one CD I copied to tape for my walkman; I’ve teared up in both awe and relevance; I’ve had friends remind me that there are other albums by Arcade Fire; there was a point when a good friend of mine said “Is there one day when I don’t have to listen to the goddamn Suburbs??” (Okay, I’m good friends with Alan Arkin.)

A week ago, when things ended with the person I had hoped and tried and wanted to make a life with, I took a break – The Suburbs is too much of a reminder. (Hip hop, comics, Peep Show – these are the things we need in our life when it gets a little tough.) But what about the Deluxe Edition? I figured I’d buy it, shelve it, and hopefully listen to it in a few months, and call it a benchmark.

It was unwrapped before I got home. I listened to the remix and demo – just dancing around the idea of actually listening to it. I watched Scenes from the Suburbs. When I finally started the Deluxe Edition (opening with the two bonus tracks) I did something so distracting: dishes.

It dawned on me that regardless of how much I think or thought or just wanted this album to be about my relationship, at this point it wasn’t. At this point it was about this past year. Since it first came out:
•     I worked to get my girlfriend back, worked hard to be a better partner, and lost again (“Took a drive into the sprawl to find the house where we used to stay. We couldn’t read the number in the dark. You said, ‘Let’s save it for another day.’”)
•     Work (“…just punch the clock.”)
•     I moved from Indio back to Palm Desert (“I feel like I’ve been living in a city with no children in it.”)
•     I didn’t take care of and lost my car, becoming car-less for the first time since 16 (“…as we listened to the sound of the engine failing.”)
•     I acted in two plays with wildly different experiences – both reminding me that it’s time to move on, that I do not need to act at a school I no longer attend (“…it’s the first time I’ve felt like something is mine, like I have something to give.”)
•     I met a lot of good people – and hurt and confused a lot of good people (“Wanna wash away my sins in the presence of my friends.”)
•     I lost good friends (“Your part of town against mine.”) and realized that as dependent as I have been on others, I need to be more self-reliant (“In my dream I was almost there then they pulled me aside and said ‘You’re going nowhere.’”)
•     Above all, and seemingly in spite of all this, I’m learning that I need to stop living in the past (“You said the past won’t rest until we jump the fence and leave it behind.”)


Now. Now’s a good time to let go. Now’s a good time to stop waiting for something to happen. Now’s a good time to just trust myself, to be responsible for what I am rather than worrying anymore about what I’ve been or what I thought I could have been. Now’s a good time to no longer worry about what people may or may not think about me or what I’m doing. Now’s a good time to stop worrying. And maybe now’s a good time to shelve The Suburbs – take it down in a couple years when I want to remember what it was like to be young. Or when I want to remember what it was like to be here, in this town, working everyday to bring something beautiful to this life.

(“Now I’m ready to start.”)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 28, 2011 10:33 AM

    YES! This is so fantastic. I’ll meet ya in the Suburbs.

    • eyepatchplease permalink*
      August 29, 2011 7:16 AM

      Thank you. And thank you for the springboard – really.

  2. March 1, 2013 11:46 AM

    Good call in writing this

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