Courtesy of the artist
M83 usually chronicles overwrought teen anxiety, but in "Midnight City," the producer's focus turns to fun and frivolity.
Song: "Midnight City"
CD: Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
The ups and downs of adolescence have always played a prominent role in the music of songwriter and producer Anthony Gonzalez, who records under the name M83 — he's based much of his career on the tension between the tumult and uncertainty of growing older and the wide-eyed optimism felt by those with a full life ahead of them. "Midnight City" adheres more closely to the latter, but with a narrower view: This one's about feeling eager and excited for one night.
Whereas lots of pop songs convey that idea by listing the things one should do before going out (for girls, getting dressed; for boys, getting dressed or drinking before arriving at the bar/club/party) or while one is out (predominantly drinking, for both sexes), Gonzalez opts for a subtler approach. There's a line that pops up repeatedly throughout the song: "Waiting in a car / Waiting for a ride in the dark." Toward the song's end, there's a moment where that line crosses paths with an immensely catchy chorus, and it immediately evokes the sensation of feeling antsy while you wait for your friends at the beginning of a night on the town.
That chorus sounds almost farcical at first listen. It's built around a looping vocal melody constructed from high-pitched squawks which would sound ridiculous in isolation, but which make for a killer hook when surrounded by cascading drum rolls and dense, buzzing synthesizers. After several albums chronicling overwrought teen anxiety, it's as if Gonzalez simply wanted to make something fun, frivolous and catchy. If the vocal loop in the chorus suggests this idea, the lush saxophone solo at the end hammers it home.