Saturdays = Youth
April 15th 2008
Suburban Chicago never sounded better, or at least no one has released music that so easily could have graced various John Hughes films of the eighties like Anthony Gonzalez, a 26 year old Frenchman who records under the moniker M83, named for the galaxy with the same alphanumerical designation. Saturdays = Youth is his 5th studio record and more than any other seeks to capture the essence of adolescence and the confusion of negotiating love and loneliness. Expanding from shoegaze to stargaze, as his name implies, Gonzalez managed to not merely replicate a style modeled by Tears for Fears, Echo & the Bunnymen, and Flock of Seagulls, but he has retroactively contributed to the bleak genre of gothic pop in a way that is insertive rather than derivative. With modern instruments and production, Gonzalez (re)vitalized a style, giving color and texture to a genre that many feel has been muted by twenty years of impersonation and distillation, killed by retro themed knockoffs and karaoke bars alike. Unfortunately when you formulize everything interesting about eighties europop, too often what is unique and noteworthy is lost. To his credit Anthony Gonzalez has avoided the distillation process and somehow managed to produce a truly great record.
Though Saturdays = Youth is stylistically strong enough to dodge the volleys of accusations levied that M83 lacks originality, in appearance Anthony Gonzalez mimics Matt Johnson, of The The fame, although there is virtually no sonic similarity. M83’s single Couleurs is an easy club track that has the darkness of proto-industrial pop. The sprawling synthesizers and metallic drum beats morph into fat bass pulses and reverberated words.
“Chasing Colors in my fears
I need yourself”
Graveyard Girl recounts the loneliness felt in life and the comfort of contemplating the afterlife. A 15 year old reads poetry to tombstones and hopes others will do the same for her when she has passed. It is a song that underscores the desperation that adolescence sometimes inflicts upon us, the monumental moments of bourgeois concerns and misunderstanding.
“I’m fifteen years old
And I feel it is already too late to live.
M83 has produced a record of beautiful design. Saturdays = Youth does not forsake the immaturity so prevalent in youth, rather Gonzalez explores it, hoping to capture the joyfulness in the space between ten and twenty, even when that space is morose and melancholy. Innocence is expressed by our desperation to shed innocence. That’s why we steal cigarettes, fight our fathers, and rip ourselves from the control of social expectations. M83 not only provides the soundscape for such a rebellion, but he resurrects the beauty, purpose, and cause of what is so often looked on in adulthood as regretfully juvenile. Even the mistakes of youth are sacred.
Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts- 2003
Before the Dawn Heals Us- 2005
Digital Shades Volume 1- 2007
19 Apr 2008 – Camden Crawl – London
25 Apr 2008 – Andrews Lane Theater – Dublin
28 Apr 2008 – Cargo – London
29 Apr 2008 – Maroquinerie – Paris
2 May 2008 – L.E.V Festival – Gijon
3 May 2008 – Ancienne Belgique – Brussels
20 May 2008 – Echoplex – Los Angeles, California
21 May 2008 – Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, California
23 May 2008 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, Oregon
24 May 2008 – Richards on Richards – Vancouver
25 May 2008 – Neumos – Seattle
28 May 2008 – Triple Rock Club – Minneapolis
29 May 2008 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, Illinois
30 May 2008 – The Mod Club – Toronto
31 May 2008 – Cabaret Music Hall – Quebec
2 Jun 2008 – Middle East Downstairs – Cambridge, Massachusetts
3 Jun 2008 – Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, New York
4 Jun 2008 – Bowery Ballroom – New York
6 Jun 2008 – First Unitarian Church – Philadelphia
7 Jun 2008 – Black Cat – Washington