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Genre: Ambient, Indietronica, Indie-pop
Similar: Sigur Rós
Interesting Fact: He's French but sings in English
M83’s new ablum, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, drops tomorrow but since we love you here at 20SA, we’re giving you the review tonight. You can thank us later by depositing many many thousands of green people from history times into our bank accounts (if you understand that reference then 10 points for you).
I had been waiting for the release of this album for the better part of this year, so it’s safe to say that I probably got my self a little too excited. Maybe it’s because M83 released it’s first track, “Midnight City”, from the album a couple months ago and it is easily one of my favorite songs of 2011. Maybe it’s because I’m kind of going through an 80’s pop/synth rock revival phase right now as can be seen with my affinity for the Drive soundtrack. Maybe it’s because M83 has slowly become one of my favorite artists in the same way Parks and Rec has slowly became one of my favorite TV shows. Maybe it’s because Anthony Gonzalez, M83 front-man, likes to play heavily on the memories of his teenage years and invoke some pretty heavy nostalgia. Whatever the reason, I can say with full certainty that I really haven’t been more excited for anything in my life up to this point. I’m not joking. Getting into college was exciting but then the effort it took to get through it (and the large quantity of financial aid) kind of destroyed any youthful exuberance I once had. I’ve been burned by hyper-anticipation before. I thought Terminator Salvation was going to be the next Dark Knight, Call of Duty: Black Ops was going to be the best game ever, and graduating from college was going to be my gateway towards an awesome job with lots of money and bitties being all over me. As a history major, you would think that I would have learned from my past experiences and taken caution, but I said “fuck it, this shit is going to be so good that it’ll bring about peace in the Middle East, end child slavery, and help clear up that weird rash I have.”*
*[Editor's Note: If you live under a rock, you might not have heard about the prisoner exchange between Israel and Palestine that took place after this post was, er, posted. Looks like my precognitive abilities are firing on all cylinders as the rash has begun to clear up as well. Huzzah!]
So now you’re asking, “Oh Anton, please, please, please tell us if Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming lived up to your expectations!” Well mi amigos, no. No it didn’t. I physically felt a pain in my chest when I typed that. With that being said, just because it didn’t live up to my unrealistic expectations, doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I think Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is a pretty good and I’ll even go as far as to say that it’s pretty damn good, so don’t give up on the review or album just yet.
The first thing of note about Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is that it’s a double album with 22 total tracks so it’s pretty long. It opens with an intro track surprising titled “Intro (ft. Zola Jesus)“ that was released a couple months before the album itself. Next up is the first single and my favorite song from the album “Midnight City.” It’s funky. It’s fresh. It has a saxophone solo that would make Bill Clinton and Lisa Simpson jealous (but not Alto Reed, Bob Seger’s saxophonist that played the Star Spangled Banner before the Detroit Tiger’s game 4 of the ALCS. Seriously, you just know he’s killed someone before. Probably with his sax. That sounded dirty). “Reunion” is decent and provides us with the first taste of Gonzalez’s synth’d-out vocals that you’ll hear on a number of tracks (“Claudia Lewis”, “My Tears Are Becoming A Sea”, “New Map”, “Ok Pal”, “Steve McQueen” and “Outro”).
The aforementioned “Claudia Lewis” and “Ok Pal” continue with the 80’s theme from Saturdays = Youth and I could very easily see it being played over the closing credits to a classic 80’s teen flick like The Breakfast Club or Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The track “New Map” is one of my favorites as it has the fast to slow to fast tempo sound of the M83 of old. There’s a good chance Giorgio Tsoukalos creamed his pants when he found out there’s a track titled “Year One, One UFO.”
So where did Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming fall short of my expectations? Like I said, there are a number of contributing factors. Number one is probably because there aren’t enough unique, killer songs like “Midnight City." There are plenty of good ones but “Midnight City” pretty much stands alone at the top. Secondly, with it being 22 tracks long, there are a half a handful of filler songs that don’t really need to be on the album. Third, and I mentioned this before, the robotic-synth voice is overdone.
Like I said, I think the album is a good one but I may have gotten myself too excited and subsequently feel slightly let down. If you’re a M83 fan and appreciate his shift from ambient pop to a more self-vocal’d indie-pop then you’ll probably enjoy this. If you’re feeling nostalgic for an 80’s pop sound then this is for you. If you’re looking for some new music that isn't “main stream” in an effort to appear hipper and vault you’re street cred into the atmosphere then this is for you. I say listen to it. There’s enough variation on the album that you’ll most likely find at least one song you like.
1 to Awesome
8/10 but cut out some of the chaff and add a couple more original funktastic tracks like “Midnight City” and it would be up for Album of the Year.
Here’s a bonus five part Anthony Gonzalez interview in which the interviewer tries to make some simple questions seem really complex and deep. Regardless, it’s always nice to hear the artist speak about their process.
- Intro ft. Zola Jones
- Midnight City
- Where the Boats Go
- Raconte-Moi Une Histoire
- Train To Pluton
- Claudia Lewis
- This Bright Flash
- When Will You Come Home?
- Soon, My Friend
- My Tears Are Becoming a Sea
- New Map
- OK Pal
- Another Wave From You
- Year One, One UFO
- Steve McQueen
- Echoes of Mine
- Klaus I Love You