Music

The Five Bands You Can Hear On the New M83 Album (Besides M83)

Pin it

The Five Bands You Can Hear On the New M83 Album (Besides M83)

Like Toto and The Smashing Pumpkins? M83 does.

Every so often a pop album crystallizes an underground movement in a way that everyone — not just scenesters and music nerds — can love. M83's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming mixes emotional urgency with layers of synthesizers, addressing the widespread desire to escape into childhood memories. Shedding the more obvious cues of his vintage-obsessed peers, M83's Anthony Gonzalez evokes the music we all grew up on, while somehow managing to sound like something fully-realized and brand new. Here's a rundown of some of the album's best nostalgia-inspiring moments:

 

1. "Reunion" / "Regret" by New Order (1993)

In 1993, if you heard the opening guitar hook to "Regret" on your car radio, you knew better than to change the station. That riff was like a calling card. Today, radio play is a lot less important for a band like M83's sales than, say, the internet, but the opening chords of the beautiful track "Reunion" sound pleasingly anthemic, in a completely different way.

Listen: M83, "Reunion" 

MP3

Listen: New Order, "Regret" (Republic)

MP3

 

2. "New Map" / "Only Shallow" by My Bloody Valentine (1991)

The blurry soundscapes and oft-cited influence of My Bloody Valentine's classic album Loveless have helped to make it a kind of Pet Sounds for the '90s. "New Map" carries the spirit of that production into the twenty-first century. It's dense, layered, and, like the emotions captured on "Only Shallow," completely relentless. As in so many of MBV's songs, Gonzalez's chorus ("shifting inside…") captures the complex time-lapse emotions of growing up in deceptively simple terms.

Listen: M83, "New Map" 

MP3

Listen: My Bloody Valentine, "Only Shallow" (Loveless)

MP3

 

3. "Midnight City" / "1979" by Smashing Pumpkins (1995)

Fifteen years later, people have a tough time contextualizing Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. On one hand, it's difficult to deny the genius pop construction of a song like "1979." On the other hand, it's hard to look at the "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" video without laughing. But love him or hate him, Billy Corgan is one of the more memorable eccentrics of his era, and Gonzalez lists his love of Mellon Collie as one of his biggest inspirations for making a double album. It makes sense. Both albums are about the pain of growing from the simplicity of childhood into the complexity of adulthood. And "Midnight City" and "1979" both make use of ambient, abstract loops, to dreamy effect.

Listen: M83, "Midnight City" 

MP3

Listen: Smashing Pumpkins, "1979"  (Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness)

MP3

 

4. "OK Pal" / "Africa" by Toto (1982)

One of Gonzalez's least cool influences plays a huge part in what's arguably Hurry Up, We're Dreaming's best song. Gonzalez's attraction to the grand ambitions of '80s pop music has helped to differentiate M83 from hipper but less-ambitious peers. It's not that people don't completely love "Africa" (request it at a drunken karaoke night and wait for the response); it's just that you seldom hear artists list it as an influence, at least if they want to be taken seriously. The gripping refrain that ends "OK Pal" reclaims that '80s grandeur for a new generation — one in desperate need of unifying pop.

Listen: M83, "OK Pal"

MP3

Listen: Toto, "Africa" (Toto IV)

MP3

 

5. "Where the Boats Go" / "Équinoxe Part 3" by Jean Michel Jarre (1978)

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming's major songs are threaded together with instrumentals that give the album a gentle, cinematic quality. Gonzalez isn't just making I Love The '80s: The Album; he's reminding us why synthesizer music was so alluring in the first place. Early electronic artists like fellow Frenchman Jean Michel Jarre had a romantic faith in the possibilities of new instruments. Gonzalez isn't threatened by Jarre's massive, not-always-realized ambitions — rather, he refines Jarre's bombast into intimate breaks and warm lead-ins on an album otherwise filled with more traditional pop song-writing. The result is an album that lives up to its seemingly contrarian title — it's lush and hypnotic even when it's full of urgency.

Listen: M83, "Where the Boats Go"

MP3

Listen: Jean Michel Jarre, "Équinoxe Part 3" (from Équinoxe)

MP3