The name M83 might conjure up nostalgic memories of 2011 with their hit songs such as “Wait” and “Midnight City,” but the project these two songs came from is often overlooked in the contemporary music world. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is M83’s first double album and an incredible 74-minute story of nostalgia and childhood. For the full immersive experience, the album is best listened to straight through with your eyes closed. The dreamy synths and gorgeous orchestral arrangements, in combination with artistic reverb and effects, make Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming one of the best alternative albums of all time.
From the first song, titled “Intro,” M83 makes it clear that this album is different from their previous work. Each song bleeds seamlessly into the next, divided into sections by interludes of approximately 90 seconds each. The runtime seems extensive at first, but this album is not just a collection of songs; it’s a story, a journey, a progression. The interludes break the album down into digestible pieces while maintaining the flow and continuity of the rest of the album.
Of course, I would be remiss to skim over the commercial and artistic excellence of the two hits on the album. “Midnight City” is an upbeat tribute to downtown Los Angeles and the way cities come alive at night. As such, it is a perfect song to play loudly while driving with the windows rolled down. “Wait,” however, describes the more melancholic aspects of nostalgia, the desperation to return to a time long gone and the resulting desire to seize the current moment. Its beautiful arrangement is combined with an extremely limited set of lyrics to make a heartbreaking yet inspiring track.
Some songs, like “Raconte-Moi une Histoire,” channel a more experimental approach to music by including spoken words overlaying instrumentals, while other songs are more traditional pop or synth-pop. The power ballad “My Tears Are Becoming a Sea” – my favorite song on the album – blends intense orchestral sounds with heavy synths to evoke an indescribable sensation. To this day, I have not found a song that makes me feel quite the same, and I would even argue it is my favorite song of all time. The arrangement of the song itself is quite complex, but as a Pitchfork review of the album put it, the song “could still be played solo on an acoustic guitar” and it would be recognizable.
The beauty of Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is in its juxtaposition of complexity and simplicity. M83 created an album that, like childhood, can appear simple but is actually highly complex, and vice versa. Each individual song contains so much beauty and uniqueness, but as a whole, the project means so much more. Words cannot do this album justice; it’s not just music, it’s an experience. So what are you waiting for? Hurry up and listen to Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.