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]