Arcade Fire: "The Suburbs/Month of May"

"2009, 2010/Wanna make a record how I felt then," sings Win Butler on "Month of May." As usual, the Arcade Fire frontman is feeling a lot. Childhood nostalgia, suburban ennui, parenthood, war, death — these are just some of the themes crammed into the songs on Arcade Fire's fabulous new double-sided 12-inch single. "The Suburbs" is a piano-fueled shuffle that starts dreamy and then turns vaguely paranoid as it looks back at a teenage wasteland with longing and amusement: "You always seemed so sure/That one day we'd be fighting/In a suburban war. . . ./But by the time the first bombs fell/We were already bored." "Month of May" is a furious punk boogie about disaffected kids that suggests a Crazy Horse-backed Neil Young shaking a fist at America's listless youth. Both songs reveal a band looking more and more like Springsteen's and U2's rightful heirs, with an undiminished appetite for grandeur — big themes, big emotions and an even more potent sound.