If M83 (aka Anthony Gonzalez) hadn’t deliberately put together his forthcoming double album, slowly fusing styles and influences from his past efforts while carefully experimenting in newfound territory, it might have perfectly scored Spike Jonze’s fantasy film, Where The Wild Things Are. Even if Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming suits Maurice Sendak’s celebrated children’s classic better than Arcade Fire’s Funeral, M83’s efforts certainly don’t pass unnoticed. Every piece of the expansive 1.2 hour LP is quality and the French artist’s determination during the past few years shines in his sixth album. Gonzalez’s fresh offering is truly one worth taking hold because it is an accumulation of everything he’s done up to this point and, as a whole, it also demonstrates a significant direction for the artist’s future.
M83’s love for cinema, made apparent in Before the Dawn Heals Us, trades positive vibes for a darker innocence in Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, transcending the plot into imaginary, almost childish landscapes. “Raconte Moi une Histoire” is especially notable with its adorable discourse about tiny, magical frogs. Although its context is unusually scripted, its foolish ideas are sure to raise eyebrows and crack smiles. Additionally, “OK Pal” reminds us of the 1980s feel that was so prevalent in 2008’s Saturdays=Youth, with its bouncy synth waves and echoed lyrics, while “Midnight City” sounds different than anything M83 has contributed thus far.
The dual disc was produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who is known for his work with Beck, Nine Inch Nails and The Mars Volta, among others. Although White Sea’s Morgan Kibby played an integral role in Saturdays=Youth, her influence is rather minimal in Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. Other contributors include guitarist Brad Laner (Medicine) and guest vocalist Zola Jesus who whispers a few lines before stretching her chords in the opening “Intro” track. While a lack of Kibby’s vocals might trouble fans of M83, Gonzalez’s personal vocals take a much heavier persistence, and this tradeoff never compromises the album as a whole. Gonzalez establishes his range as a vocalist while he softly sings parts and steadily transitions into louder, higher-pitched tones.
Each glitzy synth, orchestrated harmony and playful interlude found in Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming feels weightless, yet immense, and invites a retrospective outlook on the intangible.
Gonzalez has achieved an aerial grasp on his music, the same way nature requires humans to breathe. In other words, for every inhalation or climatic track, such as “Midnight City” and “Claudia Lewis,” there is an equal exhale to center the listener’s observance. In lieu of brief interludes, tracks such as “Wait” and “Splendor” provide elongated relaxation thanks to their reserved piano tones and hushed harmonies.
If observed closely, the timeline of Gonzalez’s development as a musician and M83’s output seem to be somewhat reversed. While Saturdays=Youth aroused teenage dreams, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming reverts itself to childish fantasies. Nowadays, it is uncommon to hear a collective output urging people to take a trip down memory lane and relive childhood innocence. Rather, the music arena is flooded with material that draws on rebellion and alternative lifestyles (OFWGKTA a prime example). It is rather uplifting to hear such a carefully crafted double album that commemorates youth and playfulness.
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming tracklist:
- “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”