Review Summary: The one album that will align hipsters with staunch, unironic 80’s culture defenders.
I wonder if the guys from Simple Minds are the benevolent types (hearing something that borrows from pretty much their entire catalog and being happy because it might revive their own careers or advance the synth-pop cause they were championing so long ago) or the jealous types (recognizing the opening to M83’s “Reunion” apes “Don’t You Forget About Me” worse than Atreyu’s “Right Side of the Bed” rips off In Flames’ “The Hive”) and getting really pissed about it. Anthony Gonzalez is without retort a certifiable genius because he found the missing link for creating art in a genre that 50% of people enjoy ironically and the other 50% would defend to the death. “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” is not merely a synth-pop record that pays clear tribute to the 80s, it bridges the gap between irony, guilty pleasures, and nostalgia and is basically saying what someone should have said a long f*cking time ago. When it comes to 80’s pop, it’s all the same damn thing, just shut up and enjoy it already.
There are 22 songs on this record and I could point to virtually any of them to showcase a clear influence from the age of excess. “Claudia Lewis” is a fine example; the intro is a cross between Simple Minds’ “Alive and Kicking” and a Flock of Seagulls’ “Space Age Love Song,” the chorus melody borrows heavily from Genesis’ “Tonight Tonight Tonight,” the bridge is a replication of The Fixx’ “Stand or Fall,” and the second verse has that quintessential Seinfeldian/appearing-in-any 80s movie montage where dudes are walking around in a city (probably in a Spike Lee Joint) bass groove. “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming” is more than a tribute to an era, it’s a full on text-book replication, a joyfully shameless clinic of paying homage to a severely underrated archetype. It doesn’t take long to recognize it; I heard the verse hook for the Cars’ “Since You’re Gone,” Tears For Fears’ “Head over Hills,” and Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill” here while remnants of Love and Rockets’ “So Alive” and even Breathes’ “Hands to Heaven” arrive out of nowhere there. Overpoweringly upbeat atmospheric songs like “New Map” and “Steve McQueen” might sound like the result of The Cure and The Pet Shop Boys overcoming their brooding personalities, taking a few miles of Xanax, and combining the melodies of “Friday I’m In Love” and “West End Girls,” yet that is precisely the reason both are in the top 100 songs released this year. I’ve long thought that anyone who hates The Dream Academy’s “Life In a Northern Town” has no soul, and after analyzing “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” I arrive at the same conclusion. This is the one album that will align hipsters with staunch, unironic 80’s culture defenders. For probably the first time ever, the overpowering atmospherics and unrelenting tribute-paying overtones of “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming” makes the concept of irony irrelevant.
On one hand we could browbeat M83 to death for unabashedly ripping off classic songs the same way we do whenever Airbourne sounds more like AC/DC than AC/DC, but that would be obtuse and egregiously counter-productive. 80’s culture (aside from the AIDS scare and those retarded “this is your brain on drugs” commercials) was about doing truckloads of coke, having fun above else, and championing the idea of zero f*cks given before there was an internet to make that saying a meme. Unless you’re MGMT and are really pissed off that “Midnight City” is the song they tried to write when they came up with “Kids” and are jealous of the fact it’s now in Victoria Secret Commercials, we should just follow the mantra of the decade and abandon all restraint, embracing excess and saturating every second of it. The 80’s forefathers would have wanted it that way, and it’s obviously Gonzalez’ intent. The only shame about “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” is there is no longer a legitimate current culture to align to it. Long live the 80s.