Sunday night’s (February 13) 53rd Grammy Awards were full of surprises, from Esperanza Spalding’s Best New Artist victory to Mick Jagger’s alarmingly sharp performance during his tribute to the late Solomon Burke. But the show saved the biggest shocker for last, as Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs took home the hardware for Album of the Year. The Canadian band, who had the smallest profile of any artist nominated in the category, scored the victory in between their two electric performances — including one that ended the show.
It’s been something of a long time coming for Arcade Fire, who have been nominated for several Grammys in the past but have never won. Their 2004 debut Funeral was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album in 2006 (it lost to the White Stripes’ Get Behind Me Satan) and their sophomore release Neon Bible got a nod for the same award in 2008 (they were bested a second time by the White Stripes, who won for Icky Thump). In a strange twist, Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs were also nominated for Best Alternative Music Album this year, though it lost to the Black Keys’ Brothers. (How an album could be the best overall but not in the Alternative category is a mystery, but so are many of the decisions made by Grammy voters.)
The win for Album of the Year wraps up an incredible run for Arcade Fire, who saw their album debut at the top of the Billboard chart (an amazing feat for a band on an independent label) and who headlined Lollapalooza and sold out Madison Square Garden. In honor of their big win (and the huge chart bump they are likely to pick up this week), check out the video for the title track to The Suburbs, which proves that they’re not only musical geniuses but visual innovators as well.