Arcade Fire - "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)"



Openers and closers can usually be good measuring sticks for how much a band grows from album to album. For Arcade Fire this statement hold true. “Black Mirror” immediately let us know that we were not going to be getting another record like Funeral. “The Suburbs” slowly guided us into Arcade Fire’s new suburban world, a place far different from the mournful Funeral or large scale Neon Bible. The same is true for the differences between “In the Backseat”, “My Body is a Cage”, and "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)".

“In the Backseat” was the enormous culmination of loss perfectly delivered by Regine Chassange, “My Body is a Cage” encompassed all the frustration Win Butler had expressed throughout Neon Bible in one humongous yet kind of straightforward song. "Sprawl II” may not be as “big” as Arcade Fire’s other two closers, there is no sudden crashing of instruments or chilling choir, but Chassange doesn’t need any of that to deliver her message about suburban life. She is trapped, she can’t get away from the sprawl, and she has trouble finding purpose in this world. It wouldn’t make sense for this song to be interrupted by a beautiful choir or crashing cymbals. Towards the end of the song there is a moment where you almost think the song is about to blow up into a traditional, large Arcade Fire track, but instead it drifts off, because things like that don’t happen in suburbia. I picture Chassange standing in the neighborhood park, delivering this song to only herself, releasing her frustration in this incredibly beautiful manner, and then slowly making her way back home to go through all the frustration again.