M83 has consistently produced collections of very different records. The band has a way of turning certain styles into sounds that we’ve heard out of very few others. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, the band’s most recent LP, is a collection of both soaring and subtle tracks that with each listen force us to read even deeper into Anthony Gonzalez’s genius. The tracks are incalculable and unpredictable, but when the music strikes, it strikes hard and fast and leaves you knowing not what hit you.
“Midnight City”, the album’s first single, is the most catchy, creative and alarming of the album’s 22 tracks. Gonzalez’s voice is best described as haunting and it’s his experimenting at its best. The collaboration with Zola Jesus could not provide a better backdrop for an already groundbreaking effort. Try to find a sexier sax line than that at outro of this track – chances are you’ll have to look pretty hard.
“Intro” and “Outro” are juxtaposted against one another as the album’s bookends. One pleads for hope and confidence that things will turns out as planned (“Intro”), while the other courageously turns the page on an extraordinary musical experience (“Outro”). “Intro” is, in my view, one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard. A voice at the beginning of the track whispers, “We didn’t need a story, we didn’t need a real world / We just had to keep walking / And we became the stories, we became the places / We were the lights, the deserts, the faraway worlds / We were you before you even existed.” If that doesn’t take your breath away, hard to tell what will. It’s a cry for meaning and a sense of belonging. It listens like a call to arms for those looking to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
One of the most exciting parts of the album is its diversity. “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire” is a strangely addictive track that reflects on the innocence of childhood. “OK Pal” is a synth-heavy track with pulsating 80s-esque beats that get the blood flowing. “Another Wave from You” slowly blossoms into a harmony of strings and computer-generated heartbreak with one simple lyric – “I think I saw you there …think I saw you there.” “Klaus, I Love You” replicates Cut Copy better than Cut Copy ever could – and the haunting overtones of Gonzalez’s voice reemerge.
I once thought M83 could never out-do tracks likes “Farewell, Goodbye” and “We Own the Sky”. Gonzalez, not to the surprise of many, does that here many times over. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming isn’t for the faint of heart, and truthfully, none of his albums were ever intended to be. His music will lift you floating towards the heavens with “Soon My Friend” and just moments later crush you with “Echoes of Mine”, doing both before you realize the album is finished. The tracks are brutally honest and inextricably linked to one another despite their disparities. They confront head-on a spectrum of emotions that, without music, we are much of the time incapable of reaching on our own. The album forces us to explore the natural and unnatural, the comforting and alarming, and tasks us with the responsibility of losing ourselves within and between the tracks. You may find this assignment to be more like a burden, but the best things don’t come easy. Promise to keep this one on your turntable for a few days, weeks, months – however long it takes start dreaming yourself.