What does The Suburbs mean?

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs Meaning

Album cover for The Suburbs album cover

The Suburbs Lyrics

"The Suburbs"

In the suburbs I
I learned to drive
And you told me we'd never survive
Grab your mother's keys we're leavin'

You always seemed so sure
That one day we'd be fighting
A suburban war
your part of town against mine
I saw you standing...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Nov 16th 2011 !⃝

    I believe there are a number of interpretations for this song, but for me I have one that is different in a specific way, yet it relates to the others that have already been stated. However, I tend to elaborate on my analyses of songs. So, to begin I think the first verse (In the suburbs I...) is talking about the simplicity of being a kid in the suburbs and the careless life style that is associated with it. As we are all careless as kids. The second verse (You always seemed so sure...) is more about coming to a realization that as kid you one day approach the inevitable period, in which you make the transition between childhood and adulthood. I believe "the suburban war and your part of town against mine" is symbolic of their inner turmoil between the harsh realities of adulthood and the loss of innocence. The third verse (But by the time...) once again refers to the indifference they feel as kids growing up. The chorus (Sometimes I...) is the theme of the song in which the singer is expressing his reflection of his childhood and how fast it moves by and before long you have to wake up the real world around you. The fourth verse (Kids wanna be so hard...) explains how kids pretend to be adult-like, yet when the time comes for them to mature into adults they dread it and want to flee from it. Perhaps this could also be looked at as a reflection by the singer stating that most kids dream of growing up, yet he dreams of being a child again. I believe "the walls and the houses" in this verse represent the barriers you create as a child which crumble as soon as you become an adult, and by then society has drained your idealistic thoughts and left you with nothing but a plain, depressing life. The chorus once again conveys the theme of the song, but this time the singer adds "and into the night." I believe that the singer is suggesting that he is moving from his illuminated, care-free state of childhood and into the dark, cruel depths of adulthood and society. The fifth verse (So can you understand?...) talks about how the singer wishes to have a daughter while he is in his youth that way he can illustrate all of the beauty that he sees in the world, before it is consumed by the miserable and unpleasant prosaic and adult lifestyle. However, he says if its too much to ask for, then he would rather have a son. I believe here the singer is saying to God that if the world is engulfed with the brutalities that emanate from society's expectations, then he would rather have a son who actually stand a better chance against the tyranny of the world. The sixth verse (Under the overpass...) is descriptive scene that is portrayed by the singer which involves a boy who is rushing towards a parking lot. The symbolism that is created from the lines describes how the singer is rushing towards the parking lot. In which, the parking lot represents society and adulthood which is waiting for him and that his childhood has already passed by, so he must make it to the parking lot. However, as he reaches the parking he realizes that its hot and he therefore tries to move his feet from it and into the grass. This line expresses the singer's realization that society and adulthood is not as surreal as we dream it to be and instead is oppressive and harsh. Therefore, the singer tries to run away from his adulthood and back to his childhood. Yet, his childhood is already over. The chorus is then repeated which once again indicates the theme of the entire song. And at the end the singer adds a final verse (In my dreams were still screaming...) which only restates how we all wish to regain our childhood again, and how we all dread the cruelty of society and adult life. All in all, to summarize in a much more brief way, the song is about how kids are so pretentious and naive when they are younger, and the apathy they feel towards everything around them. Yet, these emotions and feelings change as they get older and they begin to regret the loss of their innocence and can only wish to retain their childhood. However, in the end it is said that we can not alter time. Therefore, we all must inevitably bear the burden that society gives us and we must live our lives accordingly. And in the end, we can only reflect upon the moods and feelings we experienced throughout our childhoods.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Feb 18th 2011 !⃝

    I think this song is talking about how when your young and care free nothing has consequences and everything seems easy almost like living in a dream, but eventually the dream ends and it all becomes real. They start to witness real shooting, abuse, and hardship rather than just pretending.

    "Sometimes I can't believe it
    I'm movin' past the feeling"

  3. anonymous
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    Jul 28th 2020 !⃝

    To me, this song makes my heart break. It seems to describe a golden point in time where families settled in the modern suburb and there was community, and friendship among kids in the street. It reminds me of my own childhood and makes me pine for those carefree days. Now the suburbs are out of reach for most young adults. Young families are disappearing due to financial and other pressures. The suburbs are graveyards for baby boomers and that golden period that survived such a short time is gone.

    Moving past the feeling into the night to me feels like the realisation that the life your parents had isn't available to many. Somewhere along the way it became inaccessible and it's painful to realise that it's not coming back.

  4. anonymous
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    Aug 8th 2011 !⃝

    The meaning is that changes others can inflict upon us. The song talks about the suburbs, and how they are a uniform, simple settlement of humankind. "I want a daughter while i'm still young, I want to hold her hand, show her some beauty before this damage is done." Talks about how we turned the beauty of the earth into the suburbs. Relating to 'Scenes from the Suburbs", Winter changes due to his brother who was in the military and turned Winter's "beauty" into what he thought was a more acceptable way for him to be. Basically, everything is not as it seems.

  5. anonymous
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    Jun 21st 2011 !⃝

    the song is very similar to the gone series by michael grant

  6. anonymous
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    May 13th 2011 !⃝

    I think that it's about... Figuring out that life is not as easy as you thought... And waking up to a harsh reality.

  7. anonymous
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    Apr 9th 2011 !⃝

    You have to watch the short film "Scenes From the Suburbs" to understand the video and why the kid did that.

  8. anonymous
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    Mar 28th 2011 !⃝

    I would like to know why the hell that boy beats the shit out of his good friend while he's working... Makes the video sad

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