Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is 22 tracks. Two discs. The inevitable Epic Double Album from an artist already known for being a touch grandiose. I mean, if anyone could fill such a tall order, it’d be M83 auteur Anthony Gonzalez; from the organic thrum of Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts to the skyward synth-pop of Before The Dawn Heals Us and pristine Saturdays=Youth, Gonzalez’s output has managed to run the gamut on mood and texture while always keeping an essential, over-the-top Gonzalezness about it. You know an M83 song when you hear one — regardless of whether that song’s all sweet and acoustic or hot-pink and sparkling, ripped from a John Hughes movie.
So an idea like this is right up his alley: One larger-than-life concept spread across two albums, the first lighter and more dreamy, the second all hefty and dark, but both spanning the signature sounds of M83 as we’ve known them for a decade. Are all 22 tracks unmissable? Is the album tightly edited? Not really. But will you find some version Hurry Up to latch onto, especially if you’re an M83 devotee from the start? Absolutely.
But that’s the thing about most double albums: The version you love will likely be different from the version your brother loves, or your best friend, or your boyfriend’s sister. There’s a Choose Your Own quality to Hurry Up, especially since it moves across so many sonic borders; you’ll get the full experience once, sure, but not everyone will have the wherewithal to continue coming back to the entire piece. My Hurry Up is the more oceanic of the bunch: The crystallized “Intro” (with Zola Jesus on guest vocals) and chilling Eno electronics of “Where The Boats Go” and “Another Wave From You”, the stabbing and propulsive dance of “Steve McQueen”. But yours might be the heavy synth-pop of “Midnight City” and the playfully child-sung “Raconte-moi une histoire” (which is, seriously, about getting high on frogs). Or the atmospheric acoustics of “Wait” and “Soon, My Friend”. Or the gilded rock “Reunion” or “Year One, One UFO”. There’s just no way to know.
Of course, Gonzales’ Hurry Up — arguably the only Hurry Up that matters — is the album as a whole; and despite the 70+ minute weight of it, the sudden sonic movements, its (often intentional) seasick up and down, that version comes off with only a few hitches in the pacing. It’s a lot to take in one sitting — and the mid-section of both discs dozes a little, being bookended by such utterly large moments on either side — but it’s classically M83: Grand, dreamy, overwhelming…and more than a little ambitious.