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Tag Archives: We Own the Sky

John Hughes, may he rest in peace, must be flattered. M83’s ‘Saturdays=Youth’ doesn’t just owe him a debt of gratitude, it’s practicially a sequel to his movie canon, picking up the day after Claire fell for Bender in ‘The Breakfast Club’. Even the cover of the album looks like a family portrait of Hughes characters, wistful, disaffected teens, neatly arranged in a sunny field. The 80’s permeate every glossy song on the album so it’s both an irony free re-creation and a modern nostalgic update.

Every sound has been run through the synthesizers and fuzzed out or sharpened up. Each instrument is layered and layered under a heavy atmosphere of production so there’s a constant comforting hum to the songs. The opening ‘You, Appearing’ gently washes up, serving as the traditional mood setting track one. ‘Kim & Jessie’, the first single, breaks the calm by opening with a echoey drum snap before floating away under towering synths. It’s dinstinctly goth, but the pretty sort of goth like The Cure or The Cocteau Twins.

The smoulderingly sexy ‘Skin of the Night’ sounds like it would be equally at home in ‘Twin Peaks’ or ‘Miami Vice’, with it’s languid high register vocals punctuated by thunderous drum beats. ‘Graveyard Girl’ threatens to cross over into laughable teenage angst, but is saved by the shear exhileration of the rushing melodies and anthematic energy and a Molly Ringwald namedrop that will make you smile. If you aren’t immediatly won over, then it’s possible you don’t remember the feeling of growing up.

But after the the hot instrumental dance club track ‘Couleurs’, the album loses its pace. Because it’s frontloaded with the singles, there is some slow down to the last half the of the album. With the exception of the dramatic anticpation of ‘We Own the Sky’, the snyths keep building, and the delicate white noise pulsates, but the songs lack the hooks and can’t stand up to the brilliant opening four tracks. The album concludes with the pretty, but slightly confusing ‘Midnight Souls Still Remain’, an 11+ minute ambient experiment that consists entirely of two lazily alternating notes.

‘Saturdays=Youth’ is gorgeously cinematic, honest music about an ironic time. It might be inconsistently paced, but the love, attention and craft on each song ends up counting for a lot. In it’s effort to transport you back to the 80’s, it succeds on nearly every level. If you have fond memories of John Hughes and synthetic shoegazing soundscapes, you’ll love every moment of this nostalgic album.

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