New Album Review

M83 sends us back to space

M83 does one heck of a job with their latest double disc album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, which was released on Oct. 18.  Being their sixth studio album, and following behind such pivotal releases like Saturdays = Youth, M83 had a lot to live up to. Even though some have criticized the album for sounding different, I think it’s a beautiful new direction for the band.

Named after the Messier 83 galaxy, M83 continues delivering ambient tunes and goes back and forth between either solely instrumental or minimal lyrics with full-blown epic tracks on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. There are a ton of space and dream references, which create a feeling of being outside of this planet while the listener zones out to it

Anthony Gonzalez, producer and main component of M83, described this two disc compilation as “brother and sister, with each track having a sibling on the other disc.”   I personally can’t quite figure out if he’s referring to the six instrumental tracks, but that’s how I choose to believe the two discs are paired off.  There’s also a few interesting plays with the way the tracks are arranged on the discs with titles, like tracks 10 and 11 being, “When Will You Come Home?” followed by “Soon, My Friend.”  

Going back to the main theme of this album, dreaming, the listener can either feel it with the synth and shoegaze sounds, or with the spacial lyrics.  Gonzalez said himself in an interview with Spin magazine that, “It’s mainly about dreams, how every one is different, how you dream differently when you’re a kid, a teenager, or an adult. I’m really proud of it. If you’re doing a very long album, all the songs need to be different and I think I’ve done that with this one.”  I agree that the album progresses perfectly, and one can get a sense of maturity as it continues.

Most of the lyrics on the album either refer to time, love, or space, like in “My Tears Are Becoming a Sea,” with the lyrics “I’m slowly drifting to you/ this star is a planet,” or in “Claudia Lewis,” saying “alone, twenty millions years from my place/ a slide on the starlight./ Watch out, a new planet right on my trail!/ The space, oh, oh it’s mine!”

They also chose to use instruments that they’ve previously never experimented with, like a saxophone jam on their first single and second track, “Midnight City.”  The use of the saxophone and other instruments, and the way in which M83 created this album, seems to be heavily influenced by a mixture of the synth-pop, as well as shoegaze, created in the 1980s.

Prior to this album, Gonzalez toured with Depeche Mode, who were huge throughout the ‘80s and still create music with the same darker electronic sounds.  The song “OK Pal” reminds me of Tears for Fears, who were also extremely popular in the ‘80s, because of the vocals and music.  You can get a sense of the shoegaze genre with the droning repeated lyrics accompanied by heavy instrumental emphasis in the songs “Another Wave from You” and “This Bright Flash.”

They’ve also included two monologues: the track “Echoes of Mine,” which is a beautiful story in French of a woman walking through a forest and reverting back to her twenty-year-old self, ending with “I loved like I’d never loved.” The second, “Raconte-Moi une Histoire,” which means “tell me a story,” is of a child telling the listener about a frog that changes its life, which sounds peculiarly like a story of a drug experience.  This adds a whole other level to some of the lyrics and sounds of the album, but relating it to space is enough detail on that, and it’s interesting that they chose to do an English monologue with a French title, then the reverse.

In all, this album has to be a huge personal revelation for Gonzalez.  He said in an interview with music OMH, that Hurry Up, We’re Dreamingis “a reflection of my 30 years as a human being” and something he dedicated to himself.  Each listener can travel to the place where he was each time they put on this album, and float out to space with the beautiful lyrics and synth sounds.