M83 Releases Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

On October 18, acclaimed electro-pop/dream-pop/shoegaze act M83 released its sixth studio album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. Running a total of 79 minutes and spanning 23 songs, this double album is an extremely bold and ambitious endeavor by Anthony Gonzalez, the band’s singer and songwriter, who took influence from the Smashing Pumpkin’s classic Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Gonzalez, knowing that a record of Hurry Up‘s size would be held under intense scrutiny, gets it started with one of its best tracks. Simply titled “Intro,” it begins startlingly quietly, with fea­tured artist Zola Jesus whispering the first words of the album. She breathes, “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” before the song evolves into a bombas­tic whirlwind of cosmic synths, soaring lead vocals and choir har­monies. These spoken words stick with you for the remainder of the record as Gonzalez very effectively sets the scene for what is to come.

Running with the momentum from “Intro,” Hurry Up fol­lows with perhaps its most recognizable song, the relatively sim­ple, yet undeniable rocking electro-pop jam “Midnight City.” Perhaps the song’s most notable feature is the outro saxophone solo, which, while a seemingly strange choice for a band like M83, works very well and ends the song on a high note. After the forgettable “Reunion” and the shimmering interlude “Where the Boats Go,” which is the album’s first taste of obligatory double album sonic filler, the album melts into the wistfully beautiful “Wait.” The track begins as an instrumentally sparing number and morphs and evolves into an impenetrable aural wall of Gon­zalez’s wails, synths and drums. It’s probably the most poignant song Hurry Up has to offer. Following “Wait” is Gonzalez’s at­tempt to distill childhood to its essence, the intensely nostalgic “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire.” The title translates to “Tell Me a Story,” and that’s precisely what the song does. A little girl tells the story of a magical frog over lively, happy and bouncy synthe­sizers. The story is idealistic, whimsical, innocent and has a happy ending and feels right at home in today’s world of indie pop, where childhood and nostalgia reign as core themes.

The second half of the first disc of the album is markedly under­whelming, with more pretty yet undistinguished interludes breaking up a few subpar three to four minute tracks. The second disc starts off slowly with another forgettable song and then segues into a very solid stretch of music. First the Arcade Fire-esque “New Map,” com­plete with pounding drums, sharp vocals, an arena rock mentality and – wait for it – a pleasant flute outro. Following “New Map” is the satisfyingly 80s “Ok Pal.” Then the mood settles down. “Another Wave From You” is by far the most satisfying interlude present on Hurry Up. The song is a masterfully crafted two minute crescendo and it thoroughly feels as though one were being engulfed by the waters of the song. After the dissipation of “Another Wave” comes “Splendor” which is, for lack of a better word, splendid. Somber and chilling yet edifying and comforting, it’s one of the highlights of the record. “One Year, One UFO” proceeds to warm you with its up­beat pacing, cheering crowds and rocking guitars and drums. Next comes “Fountains” – more filler – and then the cosmic “Steve Mc­Queen,” a track almost impossible to describe without using some form of space imagery. It is a song that blasts off like a rocket and just doesn’t quit, making it another top track. Unfortunately, after “Mc­Queen” the album tapers off in quality, with “Echos of Mine” and “Klaus I Love You” being undistinguished and with an okay outro.

In the end, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is a solid double album. It has a couple fantastic songs, some good ones, some passable ones and a decent amount of filler. At its best, it is some of the finest indie pop made this year, but a lack of enough real content keeps it from becoming a true smash hit. Gonzalez’s vision for the album was there and worked pretty well, however the full execution just never was.

Contact Eric Reimund at [email protected].