AoTW :: M83

October 27th 2011


In the lead up to the release of Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez mentioned its creation was inspired by the Smashing Pumpkins double album Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness. Now that we’ve heard the record, the unlikely comparison makes sense—but only superficially.

If your musical awakening occurred after the ‘alternative nineties’, you might only know the Pumpkins as the embarrassing, legacy-destroying festival headliner they are today. But like The Kings of Leon, there was a time not that long ago when they were critically lauded, underground, and—most importantly—cool. And Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness was their Aha Shake Heartbreak.

Melancholy was audacious—a double album that documented the entire spectrum of the misfit teenage experience, warts and all; a record designed to unite all the geeks and losers of the world. And for a period there, it succeeded. Fifteen years later, is Gonzalez attempting the same feat with Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming?

Not really. For starters, Gonzalez is once again channelling a sound that sounds like some great, lost eighties soundtrack (with even more saxophone this time); a style light years away from the dramatic, dynamic prog-metal of the Pumpkins’ opus. There is a heap of drama, but it’s as romanticised and artificial as a John Hughes plotline.

The connection, then, is thematic: Gonzalez is most certainly inspired by youth. But where Melancholy revelled in the ugliness of adolescence, Hurry Up harks back to that time in our childhood when we thought we could outrun responsibility, because maybe deep down that’s something we’d all still like to do. As he says in ‘New Map’ (Disc 2, track 2): “There’s a whole in your heart/ Begging for adventure.” Too true M83, too true.


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