Post-erboys for the new post-musicality that is affecting our age. Remembering the grayness that pervades the world. Something empty streams through reticence.
M83’s new album “Saturdays = Youth” capitalizes on minimal use of lyrics, sounds, comprehensibility. Somehow Saturdays do not equal Fun. Or anything particularly Saturday-ish.
“Too Late,” a song that speaks of sleepiness, pared-down-ness. Typical of the album. Taking the East Coast seaside desolation to a European level. But perhaps it’s a little too light to slit your wrists to. Saturdays = The End of The World? Yes, but accepted passively. No mass panic for M83.
The lean aspect falls into shades of gray which pass the unsuspecting listener unnoticed.
But surely M83 cannot take itself seriously. Or maybe parts of their brains were removed. Or maybe they have given up and the drugs have taken control. Needless to say, they have forgotten how to speak, how to produce anything happy.
Listening to “Saturdays = Youth,” perhaps a pleasant experience? Gray? Yes. Empty? Yes. Fulfilling? Somehow. The album comforts, lets it drag you into its glare, somewhere the moment of a rabbit caught in the headlights. Watching a mote fall to the ground. Listening to people lying in bed together a floor below. Post-Coital? Most definitely. Especially “Midnight Souls Still Remain.”
But how bland, one can say? Why should one listen?
One track that seeks to alleviate itself from the utter lack of feeling of solitary piano tunes and emptily drifting electronic sounds is “Couleurs” (the first single release), which attempts an upbeat use of eighties drumbeats that sound suspiciously like the intro music to “Miami Vice.” It’s difficult to imagine the context in which one would play this song, but it’s relatively springy as a beat, especially when contrasted with the rest of the album. About six minutes in, a newer, “loucher” beat starts to project itself onto the song. And … is that singing? Yes, it’s obscured by the beat and it’s so distorted that it’s difficult to tell what the vocalists are saying. “Forget yourself.” No matter, the effect created lasts, a somewhat haunted trance, an empty paralysis.
“Up,” is another slightly more substantial song. It starts out a warped version of some R&B hit, but soon drifts into high pitched singing, quite ethereal, and describes flying through the stars (but could this be an allegory for something else?!). “We fly / We freeze / We suck / We bleed / We ne-e-e-d” is what they do up there, apparently, anyway.
“Graveyard Girl,” the album’s second single release, tells of a girl … who lives in a graveyard and “worships Satan like her father.” “I’m fifteen years old and I feel it’s already too late to love,” she proclaims, angst-ridden. Maybe you should stop listening to My Chemical Romance? However, the song is not without its innocence, lightness, beauty in electronic progressions and blurred singing.
While there is no doubt that “Saturdays = Youth” is very carefully constructed and track flows into track, listening to it in its entirety is a feat, one that is very likely to put one to sleep or make one waste time gazing at something when there are “more important things to do.” Like eat food. No wonder the youths on the cover of the album look so malnourished.
Towards the end, the songs start to slow even more. “Dark Moves of Love” seems to acknowledge the passing of the album: “So time is running out, dividing you and me,” but then again, “everything is wrapped in gray” and it doesn’t really matter.
We should all love this album. One cannot get past the feeling that it is somehow very special, innocent, maybe even important, but it is difficult to say why. It simply takes itself far too seriously to be something that will stick with you forever. Its beauty will wisp away, unnoticed by many and hated by a few. Some might appreciate it.