Mar 16, 2023
By Jennifer Irving
M83’s Anthony Gonzalez is a master of subtlety. A pillar of any M83 song is the dynamic feeling it evokes, oftentimes a whole host of feeling across a single song. That seems to be what Gonzalez does best, and something he’s expanded upon in his most recent release.
Fantasy, the newest LP in M83’s discography, is complex and nuanced. Listening to the record feels like watching a movie. The first few songs were released in early February as “Chapter 1.” The first few releases quite literally feel like the album’s first chapter thematically, not just by tracklisting. Songs such as “Water Deep,” “Us and the Rest,” and “Earth to Sea” create a warmness to open the story of the record. They’re sad and they’re hopeful. They instill a sense of reflection in listeners that makes you want to blast them with the windows down à la the driving through the tunnel scene of Perks of Being a Wallflower.
The second act of the album seems to begin with “Deceiver” and title-track “Fantasy,” both of which sound like groovy hymnals featuring pan flute and African drums. Coming to a peak with standout-track “Laura,” the album begins to turn to a bit of a darker, more urgent sound on “Sunny Boy” and “Kool Nuit,” which sound straight out of an old French mystery movie.
On “Sunny Boy Part 2” and “Dismemberment Bureau” Gonzalez finds his resolution. The songs are slow and have a finality about them that the others on the album don’t.
With Fantasy, Gonzalez continues establishing his place as a creator of nostalgia pop. The album emulates video game music of the ’80s but through a definitively modern lens. Gonzalez isn’t trying to recreate nostalgia entirely but reimagine it. This brings a cohesiveness to the album that succeeds for the most part. But at almost 70 minutes long, at times the album begins to run together past the point of cohesion. Despite this, Fantasy, which features some of the most singing and lyrical work done by Gonzalez, sits as a deeply personal and ambitious record that shines. (www.ilovem83.com)
Author rating: 8/10
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