Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Anthony Gonzalez has a flair for the melodramatic. The electronic French artist has released three ambitious electro-pop albums just dripping with the stuff, as if life and death itself hangs in the balance. Much of it is surrounding the ups and downs of youth and young love (even referencing John Hughes films like Sweet Sixteen and Pretty In Pink on his last album, Saturdays=Youth), but no matter the subject matter, M83 has created songs with plenty of skillfulness but with a heavy handed passion. Now comes his highly anticipated and even more ambitious double album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, where M83 elevates his sound to a new plain, allowing you to escape your mundane life in exchange for the wonderful musical landscape Gonzalez has carved out.
Hurry Up We’re Dreaming opens obviously with “Intro”, which has to be one of the most involved intros ever, as the song isn’t just a quick segue but rather a dramatic call-to-arms featuring indie-opera singer Zola Jesus. What follows is a song of the year candidate in “Midnight City”, a song with a huge swanky synth hook that is impossible to shake as the song slowly grows grander and grander before closing on a rollicking saxophone solo.
I’ve never been much for the sounds of the 80’s, whether it’s the big drums, an overdose of synthesizers, or over-the-top guitar solos. But even with its big 80’s sound, Hurry Up hits all the right buttons. I think the super hazy, dream-like production makes the 80’s aspect all the more tolerable, pulling tips from shoegaze rockers like My Bloody Valentine. “Claudia Lewis” is 80’s at its best as Gonzalez does his best Peter Gabriel impression as its grand production, hazy vocals, whistling synth, and plucky bassline serve the track just right.
Often with a double album, the band probably could have trimmed some fat and made it a single disc record but just didn’t let anything hit the cutting room floor. Not so the case with Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming as almost every song is purposeful and fits cohesively in the larger theme and purpose of the album. Ballads like “Wait” and “Soon, My Friend” swell and soar with real poignancy like Pink Floyd’s swaying ballads and even odd cuts like “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire” which features a little girl talking about turning into a frog, captures the childlike sense of discovery and dreamlike imagination that inspires the album.
Throughout the album, Gonzalez’s vocals are rarely coherent, as they are so drenched in reverb, often blending in, that they serve as more of a lead instrument than vocals meant for a lyrical message; like Sigur Ros, M83 choses mood over mandate. “This Bright Flash” has the sort of fiery ambition as one of his other staple songs, “Don’t Save Us From The Flames” from his minimalist synth sophomore release, Before The Dawn Heals Us. “My Tears Are Becoming A Sea” has the bombast of atmospheric post-rock outfits like Explosions in the Sky and the aforementioned Sigur Ros as the cymbals crash like waves and the orchestration shines as if the sky is opening up.
Hurry Up sort of takes a tour around the musical landscape like a trip around this dream world he has created. “New Map” carves a new path to a brighter world,exemplifying the sense of unbridled hope felt throughout the 22 songs. “Reunion” is a driving sing-along that sounds like an emo battle cry, but in a good way. “Year One, One UFO” gallops with an Eastern spring that also is planted firmly in surf rock.
In an information age where everything is constantly biding for your attention, an epic 22 song, 80 minute release may be as difficult as ever to engage with, but if you give Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming it’s proper due, it will take you to another place. (Cue the Arrested Development)
Can’t Miss: “Midnight City”, “Claudia Lewis”, “Wait”, “Year One, One UFO”
Can’t Hit: “Fountains”