The Suburbs, last year’s critically lauded effort from Arcade Fire, is not a happy album. There is a kind of cloud hanging over all the songs, even the ones you might call upbeat seem like they are trying to cover up some secret pain. Its about growing up in the suburban America and for those of us who did in that environment, the “American Dream” and all that, know that what is happening on the surface is not always the full picture. I grew up happy and innocent but not all of my friends did, even though that was the picture their families tried to paint. That is the feeling I get when I listen to this album. Like they are singing about people who are trying to put on a brave face to hide the ugliness going on behind the scenes. Its a very relateable feeling which is part of the reason I think the album was so successful. How else could an unorthodox indie seven piece win the album of the year Grammy.
This track is one that I downloaded a long time ago and forgot about until just recently. This is dubstep producer Hobbz’s remix of Sprawl I (Flatlands). While you might have had to listen to the album a couple of times before that uneasy feeling starts to creep in, here you don’t have to wait at all. This track makes me feel like I am traveling through a barren wasteland in some post apocalyptic future. The instrumentation is sparse and, minus a few of Win Butler’s vocal lines looped through a swampy muck of drum, bass, and chiming synths, there is very little of the Arcade Fire version left. At just shy of a 6:30 running time it might be tough to get through if you aren’t into dubstep but, for me, the emotional baggage that this song seems to carry makes it worth it.
Arcade Fire – Sprawl (Slumped by Hobbz)