favorite albums 2011: number eight
8. M83 - Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
This album probably had the toughest job of any of my top ten this year, as I was excited from the moment I heard the magic words “M83” and “double album”. My expectations were sky-high, and thankfully, Anthony Gonzalez didn’t disappoint. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming has the lushest production values of any album on this list, and uses them to their full potential to transport the listener to a world of night-time drives through swirls of lights and light speed travels through seas of stars, a world where absolutely anything is possible. “Midnight City” throws you into a fast car speeding down exhilarating lanes of neon all night long. “New Map” runs the gauntlet from epic electro to downtempo ’70s synths in just four minutes, and this actually works! And ”Steve McQueen” might be my favorite song of the year by anyone - no other song so successfully conjures up that long ascent to the top of a roller coaster, or has a chorus that then proceeds to drop you out over an ocean reflecting a sky full of endless galaxies back at you. Yes, this song is pure joy, and yes, that description is also completely over the top. But maybe it says something about this album that said description actually approximates how spectacular it is to play this album at full volume and lose yourself for its seventy minute run-time. My favorite part of listening to double albums is feeling like there is always more to discover, more songs to listen more closely to, and Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming ought to provide fertile ground for those explorations for a long, long time.