M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming
by Cory Perla
Hurry Up We’re Dreaming
There is a really easy yet ironic way to tell if an album has staying power. Listen to it and try and pick out as many musical influences as you can. If you can pick out more than two or three, then you’ve probably got something special on your hands.
This also seems like it could be a good way to discredit an album for lack of originality or uniqueness, but it actually works the other way. Once you realize what has inspired a piece of music, the whole transcends the parts, and in the case of M83’s latest, the more parts the better. Listening to Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, you could perform this exercise for days: Some New Order, a little bit of Peter Gabriel, a lot of My Bloody Valentine, a taste of Mellon Collie era Pumpkins, a nod to the Field, and M83’s patented massiveness mix to create one of those precious, universally appealing albums that your hipster brother, little sister, and U2-loving parents would all enjoy for different reasons. M83 (a.k.a. Anthony Gonzalez) does this by paying close attention to detail, and delivering more than a handful of potential hit songs.
A surface-level comparison of Hurry Up with M83’s previous albums reveals a lot. First, the overall tone of the music has shifted from epic vehemence to epic celebration—the key word here being epic. Hurry Up is also more instrumentally diverse than Gonzalez’s previous albums. From the subtle sax solo on “New Map” to the acoustic guitar and live drums on “Year One, One UFO,” the mixture of cinematic build and pop songwriting blends better than ever for the 30-year-old Frenchman. Even a comparison of album artwork is telling: Where 2003’s Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts was sullen, Hurry Up is mesmerizing; where 2008’s Saturdays=Youth was down-to-earth, Hurry Up is fantastic.
Gonzalez also sings significantly more on this album than on any other releases. And his voice is great. He has the guts to yelp like Morrissey on the incredibly reverberated “Claudia Lewis” and harmonizes perfectly on the Passion Pit-esque song “Steve McQueen.” At 12 tracks, this record would feel complete; at 22 tracks the devil is in the details. “Where the Boats Go,” a warm and hazy transitional track, merges the heavy pop of “Reunion” with the balladry of “Wait”—a track that sounds more like a cut from Mercury Rev’s All Is Dream than any current electronica—and, though it is only 1:44 long, it demands attention. With such a lengthy track listing it is difficult to single out one or two songs to highlight from this 73-minute double album. There is a lot to absorb on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, and that is what makes it so exciting.
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