The Suburbs



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.

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

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

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

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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 byDogMediaLover August 13, 2014

The Suburbs is Superb

The Suburbs is a coming-of-age album with no inappropriate content just positive message. Wait till 13, and you'll get the most out of it, but if you're feeling sad and misunderstood, no matter what age, this is a go-to. Here's my track by track: 1= awful 2= filler 3= good 4= awesome 5= the best The Suburbs 5 A great opener with an incredibly catchy chorus! Ready To Start 4.5 Another awesome single, with pop sensibility. Modern Man 3 Not my favorite, but it's a nice mood piece. Rococo 3.5 Nice dynamics & lyrics, but a little repetitive. Empty Room 5 Stunning orchestral transition dabbles in genres. City of No Children 3.5 A cool rocker, though not quite as memorable as the others. Half Light One 4 Lush and orchestral with long-awaited female singing. Half Light Two 4.5 An album highlight, with a nice brooding mood. Wasting Hours 3 It works well on the album, but on it's own it's pretty average. Deep Blue 4 Reminiscent of "Ready To Start" the album begins to evolve. We Used To Wait 5 A shining epic, that isn't afraid to be darker. The Sprawl One 4.5 Yet again, a brilliant and concise mood piece. The Sprawl Two 5 My favorite song, it sparkles with optimistic techno glory. I'm not counting The Suburbs (Continued), as it's a reprise, but if I did it's a 5, because it closes the album well. I gave it a 4, because Common Sense didn't have 4.5. And I only have given 4 albums a 5, so no albums earn 5. Not even this lush coming-of-age classic.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old November 25, 2012

Arcade Fire

An amazing album by indie rock band, Arcade Fire. I am disappointed that no-one really listens to this music, it is pure indie amazingness. Just as good as Funeral and Neon Bible.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide