2011 Album Review :: M83 ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’
August 27th 2013
On August 29, FBi hits double digits. To celebrate, the Flog is taking a trip down memory lane: we’re counting down 10 years of albums in 10 days. Georgia Hitch moved to Sydney with M83 blaring from her car.
2011 :: M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
This album, I’m sure, means a million different things to each of its adoring listeners; for me, it was the soundtrack to one of the most terrifying but liberating periods of my life.
Although it was released in October 2011, I wasn’t introduced to the sweet sounds of Anthony Gonzalez and his band members until the end of December of that year. At the time it came out, I was halfway through my three-month obligatory gap year Euro-trip. It wasn’t until it came time for me to pack my bags and leave home in Canberra that I stumbled upon Hurry Up We’re Dreaming. Given to me by a friend who said it should cover half the car trip, I thought it was worth giving a go. M83 (named after a spiral galaxy) had been on my radar following their previous 2008 single ‘We Own The Sky’, but they had somehow slipped through the cracks since then.
I remember that drive so clearly.
After three and a half hours on repeat I was in love. It captivated me. Everything from the 80s inspired synth to the incredible instrumentation had me keening for more. It was unlike anything I had ever heard and became my obsession in the weeks following. As I adjusted to my new home the record became the soundtrack to my new life.
Attaching a different meaning to every song, depending on where I happened to be exploring that day, the album became much more than a body of work but also, for me, a collection of memories. Listening to tracks like ‘OK Pal‘ and ‘Reunion‘, with their infectious beginnings, made me feel like I was in a John Hughes movie – walking around Sydney like a character from The Breakfast Club, with that incomprehensible feeling that I was actually here. I lived here. Those distinctive M83 vocals, in particular on slower songs like ‘Wait’, were all my ears wanted to listen to.
Then there was ‘Midnight City‘. It almost defeats words. From that four note repetition in the intro to the saxophone solo at the end, everything just feels right. The bass perfectly compliments the thudding percussion line and melody over the top. And then it all gets pulled away as the vocals enter. Oh, the vocals! That soothing entrance followed by the harmonic interludes, all the while intertwined with that stripped back beat is true evidence of their skilled musicianship.
What stood out for me, though, was that one lyric before the build:
The City is my Church.
Anyone who has moved from a small town or suburbia to a larger city (and enjoyed the experience) will be able to relate.
The comparison to religion was the articulation of a feeling I hadn’t yet been able to describe. The city was this magical place that held an intrinsic quality that made me want to be a part of it. The instrumental crescendo and subsequent drop that follows still gives me goose bumps and a shiver down my spine. It’s just one of those songs that seems to make its way into your every fibre, and suddenly you just want to move.
(Case in point: while re-listening to this song as I write this I had to stop to do a dorky chair dance as that second drop sets in. And I’m not one bit embarrassed.)
While I could spend hours writing intricate analyses of each of the 22 songs, the album tells a story through their combination; beginning with the intro, leading to a complication at ‘Soon My Friend’ and the dramatic reverb heavy ‘My Tears Are Becoming A Sea’ (perfect angsty-teen music) and concluding with the outro. As the only remaining original member, Anthony Gonzalez’s explanation behind the album was that he had based each song on someone’s dream. A perfect description of what has become a classic (double) album.
‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ was an album full of hope, anticipation and excitement and will always be a part of an incredibly important era of my life. Listening to it still has the magical ability to transport me back almost two years as though it was only yesterday… now if only I could leave my newly found crow’s feet there too!
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