I’ll Say It: Everyone Forgot About M83

I woke up this morning feeling grumpy and groggy. It was way too early for a Saturday morning, but I had places to go and things to get done. In fact, I planned to spend most of my day sitting at Starbucks, drinking an iced matcha latte and working on homework that I’ve been putting on for days. Well, here I sit, matcha in hand, lesson plan open (and mostly blank). I clicked on Spotify to get some study tunes going, and promptly fell into a black hole of playlists. You know, the norm.


Remember 2011? Yeah, the one eight years ago. In 2011, I was in the sixth grade. I went to school every morning wearing plaid board shorts from Aeropostale, cut all my hair off, stayed after school to go to Art Club with my friends, and was just starting to enter the world of Doctor Who. That’s about all I remember. But as I was scrolling through old music, I came across a little ditty called “Midnight City” by M83. Guess what year this masterpiece of a song came out? That’s right, 2011. EIGHT WHOLE YEARS AGO.


“Midnight City” is the single off M83’s magnificent sixth album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, and the band’s most recognizable tune. As a middle schooler, this album was like crack to me. That’s no exaggeration. I think I might’ve listened to this album alone for three years straight. I knew every song like the back of my hand. But alas, when I entered high school, there was so much music to be discovered. I didn’t yet know about the whimsy and electricity of St. Lucia, about the angsty and danceable The 1975, or even the top-down tunes of Bad Suns. I gave the album the occasional listen, mostly when boarding planes or working on a big project. But it wasn’t until the drastically different Junk was released in 2016 that I fully immersed myself back in the ever-changing flavors of M83.


So here I am, listening the album that made me fall in love with M83, eight years after its release, wondering why everyone forgot about this band. Junk wasn’t terribly popular when it was published, probably due to the change in sound. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is one of the most nostalgic albums I can recall, but the upbeat and 80s-themed Junk was dubbed a flop because of its strict, sometimes goofy adherence to the distinct sound of the era which it mimics. I get it: music critics are critics. There might be lots of tired tropes in the album, but there are also beautiful chords, complex and original melodies, and tracks that make you want to float around in a pool, staring at a cloudless sky, thinking about summers past (e.g. For The Kids).


I digress. I’m not here to give you a review of Junk or Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, or any of M83’s other albums. I’m here to remind you that M83 exists, is great, and deserves better.