M83 : Saturdays = Youth

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/m83saturdaysyouth.jpg" alt=" " />Far less abstract than M83's previous releases, <i>Saturdays = Youth</i> is a digitized re-imagining of 80's pop and 90's shoegaze. ...
M83 - Saturdays = Youth
8.0 Mute

 Far less abstract than M83’s previous releases, Saturdays = Youth is a digitized re-imagining of 80’s pop and 90’s shoegaze. Rhythms are pushed to the front and exposed outside of M83’s signature wash of synthesizers to provide a more cerebral experience.  Vocals are given a new treatment in the vein of dramatic ballads rather than the breathy strain on past albums.  Saturdays = Youth delicately floats between a digital opera and throwback album as it puts a futuristic twist on 80’s grooves.

It kicks off on a quiet note, as a piano slowly and lightly hops through synthetic strings and electrified vocals reminiscent of the last M83 album, Don’t Save Us From the Flames.  "Kim & Jessie" is next, a pop ballad drenched in 80’s technique, sometimes nearly isolating drums and vocals, which is rare for Anthony Gonzalez (M83).  "The Skin of the Night" is a dark, slick synth-heavy that uses bubbled drums throughout and eventually gets a garnish of semi-angelic vocals.  "Graveyard Girl" picks up the pace with electronically fuzzed-out effects pushing a rock beat.  A young girl’s bathroom mirror rant gives it a cool touch of reality.  Already, Saturdays = Youth is a strong departure from the ambiance of the past.  

The pop direction goes even further on the second half of the album.  "Couleurs" washes up slowly with a electrostatic wave while a bass drum pounds softly underneath before expanding into an eight-plus minute keyboard epic.  "Up!" is a highly stylized lounge groove with a delicate female, on-the-piano vocal.  The album finishes with the loose "Dark Moves of Love" where guitars, synths, and drums swirl around a spoken vocal that turns into a light chorus.   

If M83’s older works could be considered post-rock, then maybe Saturdays = Youth can be considered post-pop.  It’s very forwards- and backwards-thinking but little in between, yet hardly out of time or place, despite its obvious dating.

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