At 16 tracks in length you could never complain that the band was cheating the people who buy their album. "The Suburbs" is a dense, complicated, far-reaching, stylistically varied, but thoroughly enjoyable album. It was recorded over the span of two years in various locations in Montreal and New York.
The sounds of the different tracks range from punk to folk rock to synth music with no less competency from the band no matter what genre they try on for size. They really suit the sound to fit the lyrics or vice versa. Not many bands are able to do that. Musical mood swings is what it all boils down to. If you can handle it, though, it is quite a ride. The album is still a rock record at heart, but there are plenty of catchy pop beats to be found.
It is odd that they chose the song "The Suburbs" as the first single as it is the weakest track on the album. Definitely below their standards as it is just a repetitive bunch words and sounds. It definitely is a "lighter" song than you would expect from this bunch.