Perhaps the exemplary song of ‘present-nostalgia’ (Part I and II) is ‘Wake-Up’ off Funereal. It speaks of pure childhood destroyed by growing older and being fed lies, presumably by ‘Modern Man’, which turn ‘everything to rust’.
|7th N 3rd Street, Philadelphia|
Half the songs on The Suburbs explicitly mention ‘kids’ or ‘children’, while the other half refer to ‘kids’ activities like riding bicycles and kissing in parks. Butler’s ‘kids’ first appeared in 2003 on Arcade Fire’s self-titled EP in ‘No Cars Go’, later to re-appear on Neon Bible. Butler builds on the ancient theme of the insight of children by positioning ‘kids’ as privileged knowers.
But the ‘kids’ can’t be blamed for their bad-faith. In addition to knowing that the Emperor is without clothes, they also know ‘so much pain for someone so young’. In ‘Month of May’ Butler sings of the ‘kids’ standing there with their ‘arms folded tight’ unable to lift a thing. Perhaps these are the same poser ‘kids’ in Butler’s more sardonic ‘Rococo’ who are all the same and using ‘great big words that they don’t understand.’ However, to understand the (dis)affectedness of these kids we need to understand the malaise of ‘modern man’…