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Watch: Arcade Fire's Spike Jonze-Directed Video for 'The Suburbs'

Clip is a startlingly literal vision of song's dark lyrics

November 19, 2010 3:04 PM ET

 

 

Thursday night the "secret film project" that Arcade Fire and director Spike Jonze have been working on for months was revealed to be a video for the title track of the band's latest LP, The Suburbs. It's a startlingly literal vision of the dystopian suburbs depicted in the song's lyrics ("You always seemed so sure/ That one day we'd be fighting in a suburban war").

The clip starts off with idyllic scenes of young friends getting up to teen mischief in the suburbs. But darker imagery — people being arrested, heavily armed soldiers — quickly starts appearing. And when night falls, things get really dark: Martial law is apparently declared and black-masked soldiers move in. Some of the kids are arrested and carted off, and the clip ends with another being beaten savagely in a fast-food joint.

The band's Win Butler spoke with Pitchfork about the clip over the summer, and while he described it as a "science-fiction B-movie companion piece for the record," he didn't hint at its grim and violent nature.

"It was great just hanging out with these 15-year-olds for a week and writing down all the funny things they said," he said. "It was cool to revert to being a 15-year-old for a little while."

Watch: Arcade Fire and Spike Jonze's video for "The Suburbs" [Consequence of Sound]

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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