Day 249: M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

4 Nov

Midnight City

I was watching the latest episode of the (awesome) series How To Make it in America, when something caught my attention.  This is a show with a reliably solid soundtrack, so great songs are often playing in the background, but something different happened this time.  As this particular episode began winding down, an amazing piece of music started playing.  It meshed perfectly with what was going down on screen, and I knew I had to hear more.  I whipped out my phone and opened up Shazam as quickly as I could, and within seconds, I had all the data on this beautiful track.

M83, an artist that I’ve already listened to for the blog, is responsible for Midnight City, the awesome track that I was hearing.  If you’re a regular Swole reader and you give this song a listen, I know what you’ll be thinking.  You’ve probably come to the conclusion that this song sounds so ’80s, and I have no reason for not liking Human League or something if I can get behind this track.  Here’s what it comes down to: I have heard absolutely nothing from that cherished decade of yours that hits as hard as Midnight City.  You can actually feel the synths pulsating, the beat pounding, and that almost-obnoxious vocal sample ringing in your ears over and over.  If you know of something from the ’80s that holds a power similar to Midnight City’s, please, please, tell me about it.

Unfortunately, the rest of this double album is just kind of meh.  Other than a second track as monstrous as Midnight City, the remaining 20 tracks just fall flat. Still, I’d say it’s all worth it because of that single song.

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5 Responses to “Day 249: M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”

  1. Yuanny Dollar November 4, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    In no particular order, except start with New Order – Blue Monday, and then try Blondie- Atomic and then ABC – The Look of Love, or Poison Arrow. Duran Duran – Rio or Hungry Like the Wolf. Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus. Soft Cell – Tainted Love. Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now, Lay Your Hands On Me or Doctor Doctor. Flock of Seagulls – I Ran. Haircut 100 – Love Plus One. I’m sure Herr Doktor Chops has many more.

    • Chopsy Goes to Hollywood November 5, 2011 at 5:37 am #

      You saw that one coming, J$. I am not a fan of this particular genre because I have the suspicion that it is lazy man’s music. The main skills are not musical. In fact, New Order (who I do like) who are among the pioneers in this genre, boasted how lazy they were and how much easier synths made their lives. If you want to get a feel for how much this is about musical ability and how much it is about studio chops, compare New Order’s original version of Blue Monday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh7Ewm5P8FI&feature=related to a remix they themselves did a few years later: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTlS2w1PV3M&feature=related.

      Once upon a time, you basically had to have a degree in electronic engineering to do anything complicated with synths. That is why acts with bux turned to Mr. Larry Fast to program their synthesizers. Larry was big at laser light shows that used to be projected on the ceilings of observatories. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul91n4okszA&NR=1 along with Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre.

      The disco era brought synth-based music out of the obervatory and onto the dance floor. The individual probably most responsible for this phenomenon is a German, Giorgio Moroder, who produced and played on Donna Summer’s mega-hit, “I Feel Love”. Hear some M83 in this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OU7Hka_–U.

      White musicians all over the world listened and took note that butts could be made to shake with sequencers. This led us to eighties – not a proud period in popular music.

      Whilte men being white men, some had to try to attach serious messages to their funky synth music. A pioneer in this area (and possibly the most serious white man ever) is Peter Gabriel – who of course hired Larry Fast to program his new Fairlight synths: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo9riZYUpTw&feature=related.

      Others with less intellect, teamed with the mighty Trevor Horne (you want to hear BIG synth sound…) who made them sound important and scored huge hits, none less than this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZwNXiFWsZQ&feature=related Frankie Goes to Hollywood number.

      J$ offered a list of synth-based artists of the 80s who moved serious numbers of cassette tapes in their day. Let me add a few more:

      Bronski Beat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQdq5YUo_2s&feature=related

      Scritti Politti: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs7Jy2y-33A

      Dead or Alive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUatnbaNfEo

      Howard Jones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OO9LloDSJo

      Ever hear of any of these guys? I did not think so.

      Nowhere was this white man pseudo-funk bigger than in France where a young Anthony Gonzales was apparently paying attention while locked in his Antibes bedroom. White men in France came out with their own version of synth pop: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzpdP1qdOO0&feature=fvsr. Anthony now says, “I think that ’80s music is such a brilliant period for music history. It was the occasion for me to do a tribute to this ’80s music, but [it was] also a tribute to my teenage years because the main theme of the album is being a teenager, and being a teenager means a lot to me.”

      Being a teenager also meant a lot to me (at the time at least) but I still think this stuff sucks.

      Like his idols, Anthony’s music will have been forgotten almost immediately.

  2. Yuanny Dollar November 6, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    I hadn’t thought about Howard Jones in a long time. I think I saw him with the Thompson Twins at the legendary Aragon Brawlroom, but my memory may be off. I don’t like most of this either (I still like Georgio Moroder with Blondie — Call Me), but I think it is as good as the reimaginings of Hot Chip and this band. I watched the Howard Jones video. Boy was it bad. Why is Charlie Chaplin there? Why does that guy’s coffee cup float away. Why does he turn up later as a martial artist. That may be the worst video ever.

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