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Arcade Fire: Interactive Video for ‘The Suburbs’


The titular Suburbs of Arcade Fire’s latest album are purposefully ambiguous in location, but their just-released, interactive, web-based “video” for “We Used to Wait” allows fans to watch in awe as their own childhood address becomes part of the action.

On a website called The Wilderness Downtown, its title cribbed from the song’s lyrics, users are prompted to enter the address of “the home where you grew up,” and press enter. Once the address is found, the video — directed by Chris Milk, whose credits include Kanye West’s “All Falls Down” and Gnarls Barkley’s “Gone Daddy Gone,” among others — springs to life, launching multiple browser windows filled with animation of trees and birds, and live action of a teenager in a hoodie running down rain-soaked suburban streets.

But then it gets personalized, as the site begins to draw satellite images from Google Maps, using your address as the centerpiece, and layering the animation atop what should be familiar streets and houses. And, if your neighborhood has been photographed for Google’s Street View service, where you can see 360-degree views from pedestrian level, those images are used too, giving the sense that the hoodie-clad runner is exploring your hometown.

It’s much better experienced than described — click here to try it out and tell us what you think in the comments section.