Music Reviews

Review | M83: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

November 20, 2011

As much as I’d want Morgan Freeman to narrate my life, I’d rather M83’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (Mute; 2011) be its soundtrack. It’s a double-album of climaxes and melancholic planetary rest stops. An ode to a bygone, premillennial era of double-CD record store events, a la the monolith that was Billy Corgan’s opus, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995; Virgin Records).

The Interstellar Experience of M83: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Hurry Up‘s experience, however, is commensurate with the band’s titular roots: Messier 83, the spiraling galaxy that the band’s name is based on. And what an intergalactic ride it is. While some of French frontman Anthony Gonzales’ love of 80s midnight movie shtick is absent here (which I’d argue was about time), what replaces it is some of his best (if not best-maturated) work since 2003’s Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts. All while reawakening the metro-luminescent Bladerunner appeal of 2005’s Before the Dawn Heals Us.

The most striking sign of evolution you’ll hear between 2008’s M83 and 2011’s M83 is Gonzales’ voice. It’s almost unrecognizable now. It’s taken center stage, and it has power, scale, heft, and soaring range. Prior to Hurry Up, Gonzales commissioned the help of outside vocalists; now, any artist would be lucky to recruit him. He’s taken hold of my new favorite singing voice, one that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses.

There is new swagger to Gonzales’ pop songcraft that derails his outfit’s 80s-throwback predecessors. Here, the Frenchman digs deeper into that decade’s mythic histrionics. That is, the ebullience that gave those 80s synth ballads their initial appeal — however we may cringe at them now. M83’s previous album, Saturdays = Youth (2008), was less about the 80s version of space travel. It paid homage to their sunny, pastels-colored nostalgia for John Hughes’ films, which they largely accomplished via Gonzales’ defiantly hushed vocals, 80s production hijinks and retro software kits. Hurry Up’s instrument repertoire, on the other hand, has expanded considerably to court timeless analog tools. In the resplendent Reunion (track 3) and the gorgeous Wait (track 5), for instance, the 80s synths and software beats take a backseat to electric-cum-acoustic guitars, analog drums and Gonzales’ reincarnated vocals. Where the Boats Go (track 4) is the perfect prototype for any filmmaker’s funeral scene. It’s the segue way between track 3 and 5, giving us time to absorb the preceding high-octane trio, leading us into Wait‘s slow, pretty fog.

Perhaps one of the album’s missteps, however, is its salient reliance on sustained crescendos. This is nothing new, of course, to M83 listeners. In fact, it’s one of this reviewer’s oft-cited reasons to queue them up on his iPhone (transforming an otherwise-lame car ride to work into a light speed voyage through incalculable stretches of dark matter (how fun).

Just three words: Run Into Flowers.

Listen to it and weep, with your arms stretched up towards the sky. (For some reason I’m thinking of Willem Dafoe’s iconic Platoon death scene). Yet, Gonzales tends to drop us over the stratospheric plateau of choruses and bridges without coaching our aesthetic lungs for thin altitudes. Perhaps a little more verse-time would have done the trick. That, and toning down his penchant for cheese-whizzed song titles (i.e., My Tears Are Becoming a Sea).

Music begets emotion. Better yet, music is emotion; and to experience it as a 74-minute high can be exhausting, no matter how peptidic it is. Too much of a “good thing” can be bad, too, in some respects. Still, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is a beautiful, phantasmagoric mess, and I’m a sucker for beautiful messes that leave me uplifted and destroyed, all at the same time. Not one of this two-sided album’s 74 minutes is wasted, and it unexpectedly goes down easier than most of their single-sided LPs.

After you get over the mega-pop single appeal of Midnight City, of course, be sure to excavate this album’s gems. There are many.

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58 Comments

  • Reply Mikalee Byerman November 23, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Haha! If I could get Morgan Freeman to narrate my Inside Voice (you know, the one inside my head), I’d totally do it. But this does sound like a cool soundtrack you’ve reviewed here!

    🙂

    • Reply victor estrada November 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      test

  • Reply Richard Sanchez November 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Ever since Shawshank, I tried to emulate his soothing narration voice, but to no avail. This soundtracky album is the next best thing!

  • Reply rommel November 23, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing this album dominate in end-of-the-year best album lists.

  • Reply PCC Advantage November 23, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I used to think that having Morgan Freeman narrate anything about my life would be the absolute best thing in the world…until I found out that he married his step-granddaughter. That’s just weird.

    So, I think I’d rather have the album do it… 😉 Awesome post!!

    • Reply dinkerson November 26, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      Morgan Freeman didn’t marry his stepdaughter. That was a rumor that was started by Enquirer magazine. The rumor was that he was going to marry her, not that he did marry her. Morgan freeman has dismissed there allegations as absurd. One should be mindful of where one gets one’s information. Gossip magazines as well as gossiping people are seldom a dependable source.

  • Reply Richard Sanchez November 23, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Wow, you learn something new everyday :). Thanks for reading!

  • Reply The Hook November 24, 2011 at 1:50 am

    “As much as I’d want Morgan Freeman to narrate my life..”
    Great line! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  • Reply ndsimons November 24, 2011 at 3:26 am

    nice review, I like the shout out the infinite sadness

  • Reply Headphone Nation November 24, 2011 at 3:58 am

    One of the best opening lines to any album review I’ve ever read. Job well done!

  • Reply Karl Drobnic November 24, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Morgan Freeman would be great, but how about James Earl Jones to narrate it?

  • Reply morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer November 24, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Oh,No; Willam DeFoe dies in Platoon? Now I don’t want to see it.

    Ronnie

  • Reply RashadIsLikeTewMuch November 24, 2011 at 6:18 am

    great album. great review.

  • Reply PhoeniX PhiL November 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Great review! I’m currently a bit in love with this album (especially the promo video for Midnight City… which makes my heart ache for reasons far too buried in my pysche for me to understand why).

  • Reply andersonjay November 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    love the artwork, great review!

  • Reply DyingNote November 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Well-written review. That’s two reviews on WordPress of the M83 album that have caught my attention. Enough to get me to listen to some samples from it. Sounds good, will get this. Thanks

  • Reply ravingmadscientists November 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    omg, thank you for writing this review. I am adoring this album more and more every day. Steve McQueen is one of my favorite tracks. It’s just magical. Great post!

  • Reply sheiktrends November 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Morgan Freeman all the way!

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  • Reply johnnymouse November 24, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Very nice! Thank you!

  • Reply superblogger4 November 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    great review! I thing i will need to buy this, Alot of grat albums have come out recently. Heres a link to Childish Gambino’s album if you are interested!

    http://eartharoundus.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/album-review-camp-by-childish-gambinocn/

  • Reply How to DJ November 25, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Awesome review
    Think I might just pick this up now 😉
    I can’t believe the difference in his voice now.
    Cheers,
    Ron

  • Reply Richard Sanchez November 25, 2011 at 5:15 am

    Thanks for reading, fellow bloggers. It’s all about the greatness of this album. This review being freshly pressed was quite unexpected. (@superblogger4, will definitely check out Childish Gambino). I’d also like to thank Morgan Freeman’s voice, albeit it does stand shoulder-to-shoulder with James Earl Jones’.

  • Reply Storie Tellermenn November 25, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Nice review. That’s cool 😉

  • Reply OMG November 25, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Great review!

  • Reply Opinyonista November 25, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Morgan Freeman should narrate your life’s story. The actor’s winner capacities will do you right.

  • Reply k5dgn November 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Your are a great music writer! You were able to sum up my feelings for this great album as if you were reading my mind. This has become a daily listen for me as well anything Brainfeeder! Great job I wish to read more in the future.

    • Reply Richard Sanchez November 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      Thank you k5dgn. I really dug your Obama poster designs, very nice.

  • Reply I Made You A Mixtape November 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    What a wonderful discovery! Thank you! LOVE your blog by the way!!

    • Reply Richard Sanchez November 25, 2011 at 11:05 pm

      Thanks! Really dug your site too; will be following.

  • Reply fisix November 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Movies are amusing!

  • Reply d1esel6 November 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Saturdays = Youth is so amazing to me. I got their other albums and was kind of bored… so thanks for the review. if this is more similar to their other stuff than you saved me some $$ and time =P

  • Reply mediaudio November 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks for the great review and recommendations! I hope to see posts like this freshly pressed more often.

    • Reply Richard Sanchez November 25, 2011 at 11:06 pm

      Thank you mediaudio. Will definitely keep it up, barring my dayjob hours, ;p.

  • Reply ashleymenzies November 25, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    I found this band from the Made In Chelsea soundtrack where there song ‘Midnight City’ is featured, but just that song doesn’t do this band justice! This review and there album are both brilliant 🙂

    • Reply Richard Sanchez November 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks for reading, ashley. Really digging your Tumblr site :).

  • Reply topshoppingmallblog November 26, 2011 at 9:50 am

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  • Reply Amir Monfared November 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    nice

  • Reply d. durand November 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I love your review, but the M83 album is such an instant classic of beautiful noise and an easy sell. Keep up the great work here you guys are on top of your collective game. Peace.

    • Reply Richard Sanchez November 26, 2011 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks d.durand. We’ll definitely do our best to hammer out that content.

  • Reply newsy1 November 26, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    So glad I found this, very entertaining and well written review. Makes me want to listen.

  • Reply theyoungrhythm November 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    I’d love to Morgan Freeman to narrate my life. Just imagine it. Morgan Freeman narrating me going to the bathroom. Rofl. I recently fell in love with M83. I’m kind’ve ashamed that I heard of them through the victoria secret’s commercial (fail).

  • Reply Kammie November 27, 2011 at 2:54 am

    I love M83. So much. <3

  • Reply sunclarabest November 27, 2011 at 6:39 am

    great review

    • Reply Nelia March 27, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Stellar work there evenoyre. I’ll keep on reading.

  • Reply www.SheikTrends.com November 27, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Cant wait

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  • Reply รับสมัครงาน November 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    🙂

  • Reply stainfreemedia November 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    We’re trippin’. We’re rolling in the flowers. We’re motivated. We’re hurrying up!!
    (Brilliant piece. We can’t wait.)
    http://stainfreemedia.wordpress.com

  • Reply starlitskye November 28, 2011 at 3:29 am

    cool, can’t wait to check it out, had no idea they released a new album, thanks:)

  • Reply tofait November 28, 2011 at 9:22 am

    sounds good ………. i liked it more than just a like .
    sometimes there are something very usual of everyday life reveals in diffrent “point de vue”.

  • Reply gokulking November 28, 2011 at 11:59 am

    cool..

  • Reply jakdamakmusic November 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Gonna check it out, thanks.

  • Reply aaremo November 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Great review. This is my album of the year. It took repeated listens, but what an incredible journey it is! It’s truly magical.

  • Reply plutonym November 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    definitely in my top 5 albums of this year.

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    My brother suggested I would possibly like this blog. He was entirely right. This put up actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

  • Reply Richard Sanchez January 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Thanks for reading, Altersvorsorge 🙂 … always thrilled that a post can provide some useful intel!

  • Reply Video Awareness: ‘Reunion’ by M83 « In Harsh Light May 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    […] & Manu’s visual interpretation of M83′s “Reunion,” from their album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (Produced by […]

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