First, though, let me warn you: don’t try to do anything else while listening. Much of what makes the album is its lyrics and you have to actually pay attention to get them. (I made the mistake of trying to make cookies while listening and quickly realized that was not going to work). The 16 tracks that make up The Suburbs are pieces of the whole, rather than individual songs (though they do have their own names) and should be listened to uninterrupted. Having only listened to the album twice, I can’t claim to fully understand the story it’s telling, but it provides a rather depressing look at suburban life and how its changed the way we live (or, at least, I think that’s what it’s saying).
The driving drums and sustained strings throughout the album provide a feeling of anticipation: not can’t-sleep-the-night-before-going-to-Disneyland anticipation, but can’t-sleep-because-there’s-a-monster-under-the-bed anticipation. The album as a whole is overwhelming—I feel like I would need to listen to it a dozen more times to really “get it.” But the unbalance I feel when listening to The Suburbs contributes to the experience of the album
The opening track “The Suburbs” draws you right into the album and was my favorite, upon the first listen. However, on time two, “Month of May” took that place (probably because it was up-tempo and could stand alone.) I found some of the songs (especially “Deep Blue”) to be a little slow—not just in tempo, but in interest and development. Generally, though, The Suburbs is a very good album and gets a 4/5.