I contributed a couple of pieces for The Skinny’s end of year chart. I’ll be posting my own list later in the month. M83 came in at number 9 on this particular list.
Anthony Gonzalez of M83 is no stranger to lists like this. His last album, Saturdays = Youth, was among the most critically acclaimed of 2008, and a number of earlier works were frequently mentioned in the classification frenzy that marked the end of the last decade. Perhaps he won’t be too surprised to find Hurry Up, We’re Dreaminghere, then, but his double disc opus is easily the most divisive album to have flown the M83 flag to date. It’s big and it’s bold. It’s anthemic and it’s adventurous. In short, it’s everything Saturdays = Youth – a beautiful record – wasn’t, which helps explain why some fans didn’t get it (clearly not those in The Skinny’s squad of scribes, mind).
Speaking to The Skinny before its autumn release, Gonzalez was aware of Hurry Up’s potential to polarise opinion. He was nervous, but determined. This, he said, was the culmination of ten years of M83 – all the previous records rolled into one. Said Gonzalez: “When your last album is your most successful, it can be hard to move away from it. I have thought that people might be expecting something different than this (Hurry Up…), but when you listen back to the other albums, you can almost hear what this one was going to sound like. This is the album I’ve always dreamed of making.”
And what a dream it must have been. Hurry Up is brave, bombastic and kaleidoscopic. While the album as a whole is lacquered in synths, there is a host of stylistic twists and nods over the two discs that help make it one of the year’s most interesting. There are power ballads (Wait), glam-rock (Steve McQueen) and floor-fillers (Midnight City). In fact, most of the adjectives ascribed to the record by its critics can easily be reclaimed by its devotees. For “patchy”, read inventive and shapeshifting. For “kitsch”, read unashamedly glitzy and fun. For “long”, read epic and staggeringly ambitious. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is M83’s palette, stretched, doused in acid and set on fire.
Parts of the album – thematical and conceptual – have been in Gonzalez’s head since he was a child. When recording, he seems to have taken his foot off the brakes of adulthood and let his sense of wonder run wild. “I had a lot of crazy dreams when I was a kid,” he said at the time, smiling. Not many artists do regression as stylishly as this.