The Suburbs

Common Sense Media says

Indie-rock is all about being yourself; OK for older kids.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Though there's some of the usual young-adult angst in this album, it has a more positive outlook on life than the typical indie-rock record.

Positive role models

The majority of these songs are about staying down to earth in a world full of artifice. 

Not applicable

A couple mentions of kissing.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Suburbs is like a lot of albums by young indie rockers: it includes many somewhat cryptic lyrics about growing up and discovering your identity. While the messages here may be indirect, they are almost entirely free of adult content, lacking graphic language or adult references beyond a kiss or two. In the end, the record is a good option for older tweens and teens.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

THE SUBURBS is the Grammy-nominated third album by indie darlings Arcade Fire. The collection of 16 songs holds true to the indie formula: not a ton of swearing, sex, substance use, or violence, but some melancholic and brooding messages about trying to figure out one's place in the world. Still, the CD deviates from the indie pack in its somewhat more hopeful, positive overall outlook. For instance, "They heard me singing and they told me to stop

Is it any good?


Musically, The Suburbs mirrors its lyrical approach -- lots of infectious guitar-based arrangements that sound at once haunting and upbeat ("Deep Blue" and "Empty Room" are good examples"). Husband and wife members Win Butler and Régine Chassagne share lead vocals to good effect, keeping the interest level high throughout the record's evolution.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about indie rock. What makes a song or record "indie"?

  • Is indie-rock cooler than mainstream pop? Why or why not?

  • This album has been critically acclaimed; what makes it so special and worthy of accolades?

  • Talk about the messages these songs contain about

  • keeping it real. In "Rococo" the band sings, "Let's go

  • downtown and talk to the modern kids...using great big words that they

  • don't understand...they say 'rococo.'" How can a person stay down to

  • earth in a world where everyone is trying to impress each other?

Music details

Artist:Arcade Fire
Release date:August 3, 2010
Label:Merge Records
Genre:Indie Rock
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

This review of The Suburbs was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byOGORMAN February 3, 2011

Great song, sounds even better when you're watching the video, gives it the whole effect.

Just to let the reader know early on, I'm not just rating the "The Suburbs" I'm also rating the video for it that you can watch on YouTube. Nothing in the song is bad, but the video is a little violent at times. Teens around 15 or 16 shoot what look to me like paintball or pellet guns (I'm no gun expert so don't give me crap). A relationship between 2 of the teens is also shown at different points (nothing nasty), and different forms of law enforcement are shown searching people's homes and taking some people away. I believe this was meant to show an aspect of what it's like to live in a war zone. Great song, but the video may be a little iffy depending on how you view it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written bySubterranianHom... January 8, 2011
For any other indie band, this would be a "good" album. But this is Arcade Fire. Fortunately, there are some original ideas and positive messages still found on this album, and it is probably the safest cd for the young ones as far as this band. Win basically spends the album mourning the state of his tired, stereotyped suburban parent self (unfortunately, he doesn't do that great a job capturing the character, he is after all a rock star) and has keen observations about the fake idols of a life tied to getting by. The music is good and sometimes great (the far superior songs are Sprawl II, Empty Room, Suburban War, and both Half-Light songs) with a basic rock sound that shines brightest the more it wanders into other genres. However, if you're reading this, and you don't have a thing by the Arcade Fire, drop everything and get Funeral, perhaps the most beautiful album I personally have heard. Trust me, you won't regret your decision.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bycheese-process December 19, 2010

Not their best, but still good.

Neon Bible is the best, but this one is still good. However, this one doesn't have the same power and intensity that made me like the band. The album doesn't really grab my attention as much, but it's still good music. Very lyrical.


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