Anthony Gonzalez has been making music under the M83 (named after the galaxy Messier 83) name for ten years now. It wasn’t until 2003’s Dead Cities, Red Seas, & Lost Ghosts that he finally started gaining real worldwide attention. He eventually reached new heights of popularity with 2008’s Saturdays = Youth, which was acclaimed as his best work yet. To top what many saw as the peak of his career, Gonzalez took influence from the ambitious double-albums of his childhood, and moved to Los Angeles to record. The result, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, is a magical piece of music that shows that M83 will not be content with peaking any time soon.
In “Raconte-moi une Histoire,” the sixth track from the record, a young boy tells a wonderfully descriptive story about a magical frog. According to the story, the frog, if found and touched, will change your world forever, turn blue into red, your mommy into your daddy, make everything look like a giant cupcake, and make you keep laughing and laughing. This particular story may be describing some sort of frog, but it could easily be describing the album title. The main sentiment found throughout M83’s two-disc magnum opus is that feeling of youth, and the memories that come with being a child. In short, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is a celebration of youth and childhood.
From the very start it becomes clear that this album is huge. I’m not just talking about its length, but its sound, and its grandiose way of doing things. The introduction to the record carefully builds up as Zola Jesus chimes in to provide a hair-raising performance, all before exploding into a tremendous explosion of sounds. Loud enough to fill a stadium, first single “Midnight City” contains a gigantic chorus, which is perfectly mixed with some softspoken verses. The track’s versatility and its prediction of sounds to come make it an ideal single, and the perfect way to start the record.
The first part of the album continues to impress with gigantic choruses and soothing interludes. Tracks like “Reunion” show how much more prominent the percussion is as opposed to previous albums. Gonzalez’s ability to carefully build up a song before it climaxes into a cacophony of sounds is portrayed in “Where the Boats Go.” It should also be noted that this record is highly accessible, with certain tracks, such as “Claudia Lewis,” being bouncy, fun and catchy from the very first listen.
One of the most fascinating aspects of this album is that Gonzalez is able to keep a similar feeling throughout the album, but still keep his listeners entertained. By simply adding a couple of touches and tweaks to every song, they each become their own entity. Examples: the choir in “New Map,” the nostalgic ’80s feel of “Ok Pal,” and the pummeling drums of “Year One, One UFO.”
The album closes on a lighter note, with a couple of bouncy tracks that are quite easy to digest. It seems like after the whole ordeal, M83 gives you a bit of a rest. Before ending, however, we get an outro, which closes things in the magnificent manner that Gonzalez intended.
Anyone who has heard any of the work previously done by M83 knows that it is upbeat and big. However, with Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, the band has gone above and beyond, making an album that’s more upbeat and bigger than any of their previous work. Hell, this is more upbeat and bigger than most albums this year. With winter right around the corner, we have the choice to sulk around in the cold, or we can take the initiative to make it warmer than the previous one. Celebrating your youth seems like a good way to do this, and no other album this year celebrates your youth like Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.