A grandiose double-album paean to childhood dreaming that only occasionally needs the naughty step
[i]On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux[/i] (One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye). Not our words, but that of a clever fox in Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s profound children’s book. The book tells the story of a child-like alien who travels to other worlds. Visiting Earth, he meets a crash-landed aviator in a bleak desert.
While the stranded pilot is a weary grown-up, the prince is yet to be tainted by adulthood. If Anthony Gonzalez (M83) is like the aviator, having imagined this double album while in the Joshua Tree desert in California, ‘[b]Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming[/b]’ is itself the Little Prince: guileless and dreamy. Quite a bold statement to make, but this is an album of equal valour.
‘[b]Intro[/b]’ really captures the spirit of the album, guest [a]Zola Jesus[/a]’ voice both otherworldly and powerful. It’s a jaw-dropping start that fades into ‘[b]Midnight City[/b]’, arguably one of the best tracks to be released this year. Its dancefloor-filling melody boasts the finest sax solo you’re likely to have heard in the past 20 years.
It’s this pomp that makes the album work, and on ‘[b]Reunion[/b]’, [b]The Breakfast Club[/b] soundtracked by [b]Toto[/b], the fantasy is properly realised. Gonzalez has said that each track on the album is an interpretation of people’s dreams. But there’s another theme that runs through both sides of this epic: childhood innocence. At times this works well (‘[b]Splendor[/b]’), but the Dora The Explorer-like voiceover on ‘[b]Raconte-Moi Une Histoire[/b]’ is a mega peeve. There’s a lot to take out of ‘[b]Hurry Up…[/b]’ but moments like this, and the synth interlude of ‘[b]Klaus I Love You[/b]’, detract from the overall vision.
But, if you can look past that and use your heart, you might rediscover your own absentminded childhood and an album full of hidden pleasures.
Director: Justin Meldal-Johnsen
Record label: Naive
Release date: 17 Oct, 2011