M83’s “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”

“In a tasteful, catchy, and moving way, M83 grabs the listener and takes them through a thrill ride of an album.” -Jordan Welsh

Jordan Welsh

out of 10

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
October 18, 2011

A magnum opus is defined as an artist’s greatest work. Many composers of centuries past spent years upon years writing music that led to their greatest and most defining work. With “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” Anthony Gonzalez, better known as M83, presents his magnum opus.

Gonzalez wastes no time getting his 6th project off to a breathtaking start with a track simply titled: “Intro.” Featuring Zola Jesus, this track is unlike any other album introduction. At an impressive 5 minutes long, the listener is blasted off in to M83’s signature shoegaze sound in magnificent fashion. Beautiful synth pads and arpeggiations are tied together perfectly with the layered vocal of Gonzalez and a chorus of dreamy ooh’s and ahh’s set over a drum beat that keeps your head bobbing throughout. When the track reaches the end I found myself thinking, “Wait a minute — this was only the first song”!

The track that strikes me the most out of the entire 22 track album is the first single, “Midnight City.” Catchy doesn’t even begin to describe this song. Without being at all generic, Gonzalez presents a song that sticks with the listener. This is done by a synth lead (think lead guitar in a more conventional rock song) that latches to the listener’s ear immediately. The best part about the before mentioned lead is, it’s simply Gonzalez’s voice, extremely distorted before played. The melody will stick with you, having you humming it even after the first listen. A driving drum beat that is far superior to the four-on-the-floor beats of many electronic songs, plus a striking saxophone solo in the bridge are simply the cherries on top of this incredible song.

One of the biggest attributes that makes “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” different to any other M83 album is Gonzalez’s use of vocals. On his previous album “Saturdays = Youth” vocals are largely falsetto, off in the distance, and highly reverbed. While there are still gratuitous amounts of delay and reverb, Gonzalez is not playing shy with his vocal on his newest release. Songs such as “OK, Pal” and “Wait” have the French artist belting out his lyrics in full voice, complete with tasteful harmonies. However, there are times when the vocals are not exactly perfect — For example, the initial seconds of “My Tears Are Becoming a Sea.” Even still, the grand vocal content of this album far outweighs the one or two vocal “slips.”

Another factor that makes this album different to any other M83 record is the overall tone. “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” is markedly more upbeat than M83 albums past. Songs such as “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire” are a big change of pace for the French musician. The song features a story about a frog, told by a little girl. I believe this song will throw avid M83 fans for a loop. While it very well captures the child-like exuberance that is hinted at through the rest of the album, it will throw the listener off a bit at first with the little girl’s narrative. However, in context with the rest of the album, this song makes perfect sense, overflowing with the playfulness of childhood.

Sound upon interesting sound abounds in this record. When listening, I feel as if my ears are children in a candy store. There are just so many fantastic elements to take in throughout these 22 songs. Instruments and noises that make the imagination run wild are abundant. Gonzalez does an excellent job associating a sense of wonder with his music. As said in an interview with Pitchfork, “For me, the imaginary world is so much more powerful than real life, and I don’t really want to be bothered by real life.” The sounds presented will make you feel a range emotions like no other type of music can do, and an imagination that soars while listening is the result.

Anthony Gonzalez has definitely outdone himself with “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” — A daunting task after the critically acclaimed “Saturdays = Youth.” The gradual progression of this artist over the years is simply amazing. For years Gonzalez has been putting out quality music. Just when you think it can’t get better, it does. In such a tasteful, catchy, and moving way, M83 grabs the listener and takes them through a thrill ride of an album. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is far and away the pinnacle of M83’s discography thus far.