In a year where the Grammys, despite plastering their performance roster with a bunch of pop acts, proved that the center wasn’t holding when it came to a place to store trophies, the Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs won the Album of the Year award. The surprise win upended efforts by heavyweights like Eminem, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga, as well as Need You Now by five-time winner Lady Antebellum.
Despite being on an independent label, Arcade Fire’s ambitions have always been outsized; their anthemic songs have soundtracked Super Bowl ads and this year the release of The Suburbs was heralded with a sold-out show at New York’s Madison Square Garden that was streamed live on YouTube. The Suburbs, a lengthy rumination on growing up in the hopeless-seeming world of tract houses and endless night drives, is definitely a Statement Album, and that quality no doubt endeared it to Grammy voters. (The band’s blend of ramshackle charm and arena-rock bombast probably helped, too.) Here’s a live performance of “Sprawl II,” one of the album’s best tracks (and inexplicably not part of the band’s two-track performance this evening):
And hey, the win made one viewer at home happy: