No matter how old I get, a piece of me is still stuck somewhere between Red Dawn and The Breakfast Club, firmly entrenched in the mid '80s, a great time for movies and music, if not for fashion. M83's Anthony Gonzalez seems to drift about in that era as well, at least as far as his latest album is concerned. Saturday = Youth is an homage to the '80s, filled with astro-poppy, shoegazing space rock goodness that would feel right at home on the soundtrack of any of Molly Ringwald's pre-Malicious films.
Saturday = Youth was recorded with Ken Thomas, best known perhaps for his work with Cocteau Twins, and much of that sound is evident here, Gonzalez gazing not so much at his shoes as into the rear-view mirror. "You, Appearing" is a sad, slow, ominous opening to the story told herein, a creepy-cool goth-fest that transitions into the happier "Kim and Jessie" without missing a beat; this track, the album's second, is the most obviously steeped in '80s mystique, providing more of a fitting Ringwald homage than Sponge managed with their "Molly." Later, "We Own the Sky" is the perfect accompaniment to that scene at the end of every '80s film, when the guy finally gets the girl and up come the credits.
Much of the album dwells in darkness: "Skin of the Night" and "Graveyard Girl" both dance dangerously close to melodrama, evoking more Allison Reynolds than Claire Standish (especially with the latter's spoken word poetry halfway along), and "Dark Moves of Love" is nothing so much as proto-goth angst from an era where emo and goth met and had a child - who immediately died from the unbearable weight of the world. Fortunately not all here is gloom. Couleurs is a funky 8.5-minute epic that starts simply and just builds and builds in epic fashion, feeling something like the '80s skipped over the '90s and plowed straight into the Millennium, and "Highway of Endless Dreams" is a lush, pale saint of a song that drifts about the room like incense, carrying with it all the hopes and dreams of a young girl who stayed home on prom night, waiting for the boy of her dreams to show up, boom box held high overhead...
Favorite Track: "We Own the Sky"
Michael Fiegel is a freelance writer and graphic designer. His diverse
background includes journalism, radio copywriting, technical writing,
game design and music reviewing. He is best known as the creator of the
Internet cult sensation, Ninja Burger. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at his website,