The Late Movies: The Suburbs

Yeah, yeah, yeah ... I'm always talking about how great Arcade Fire is and how much I love their latest album, The Suburbs. Well, for all of you who haven't heard it (or haven't heard it enough!) I just happened upon a veritable treasure-trove of super-expertly-well-shot concert footage of the band performing a lot of the songs from the album -- directed, for the most part, by Terry Gilliam. Yep -- that's Terry Gilliam from Monty Python and the director of Brazil, the latter of which I think has some subtle but not inconsiderable thematic ties to The Suburbs, which IMHO is a rockin' long-form lament-of-sorts about all that's been lost to and steamrolled by technology and globalization and the mass-production of pop culture -- though in an interview frontman Win Butler said that the album "is neither a love letter to, nor an indictment of, the suburbs - it's a letter from the suburbs."

Or, to quote a review from Spin that I rather like:

Radiant with apocalyptic tension and grasping to sustain real bonds, [it] extends hungrily outward, recalling the dystopic miasma of William Gibson's sci-fi novels and Sonic Youth's guitar odysseys. Desperate to elude its own corrosive dread, it keeps moving, asking, looking, and making the promise that hope isn't just another spiritual cul-de-sac.

OK, enough already! Here are most of the songs, in order. Enjoy! (Also note: I think this album is the best kind of slow burn. The first time I listened to it I was kinda meh and the fifth or sixth time it was like WOAH I GET IT NOW.) The title track:

The album's hit single, "Ready to Start."

There's no good video or concert recording for this one -- but give it a listen sans video.

Currently my favorite track from the album:

Another amazing song -- sans video.

I love the Byrds-esque guitar jangle in this one.

It's hard to believe that kids today (these kids today!) will never have the experience of writing letters to their friends, or far-away loved ones, and waiting for reply. I mean, they could, but they would never have to. It's a sentiment that's captured nicely in this song. By the way, there's an amazing interactive stylistically groundbreaking video for this song that I can't embed here for reasons that will become obvious but when you click here.

This is a strange and wonderful little song that reminds me a lot of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.

... and it has a sequel! Songs can have sequels?

And then a nice atmospheric little coda ...

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked

Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"


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