Watch: Father John Misty covers Arcade Fire’s ‘The Suburbs’

In honor of Arcade Fire topping CBC Music’s list for “the 100 best Canadian bands ever,” Father John Misty has delivered a trip back to 2010 with a revitalized cover of the title track for Arcade Fire’s Grammy-winning album “The Suburbs.”

Currently touring for Father John Misty’s second album “I Love You Honeybear,” Josh Tillman stopped by b.b. gun leather in Vancouver to present his version of “The Suburbs” inside the leatherworkers’ office. (The levels of hipster cred in this video should be enough to sell thousands of 200-gram vinyl pressings in 25 years.)

Misty extracts the anxiety and resentment trapped inside Butler’s clenched teeth and projects it into his performance. With images of escape -- “In the suburbs I / I learned to drive ... Grab your mother’s keys, we’re leaving” -- and a hesitant denial of suburban life, Butler’s lyrics were stunning in 2010, yet Misty’s haunting vocal draws out the adolescent feeling hidden in the original recording.

When Tillman sends his voice into a chilling falsetto for the chorus, “Sometimes I can’t believe it,” he walks back down his register to the resourceful conclusion, “I’m moving past the feeling.”


In an interview with CBC Music, Misty recalled his own suburban childhood in Rockville, Md. “I like the way that in that song, it feels like this loss of innocence thing, like this bait and switch that sort of happened, like I got tricked by this whole arrangement,” Misty said. “But knowing that, intellectually, I still kind of wish that I could go back to that.”