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Saturdays = Youth

4.5 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 14, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

For M83's chief star-gazer Anthony Gonzalez, his youth is something he looks back upon with affection, something that has become the defining theme of his enchanting new album, "Saturdays = Youth" Recorded with Ken Thomas (Sigur Ros, Sugar Cubes, Cocteau Twins, Suede) and Ewan Pearson (Tracey Thorn, The Rapture, Ladytron) "Saturdays = Youth" delivers the rich sonic textures for which M83 is well known - this time with a more focused approach to song structure and form.

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For their fifth album, Saturdays = Youth, France's M83 conjures up the 1980s in all their candy-colored glory. Even the cover portrait, showcasing models in rolled-sleeve blazers, peg-leg pants, and pastel prom dresses, evokes John Hughes' high-school classics Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. In the liner notes, singer/multi-instrumentalist Anthony Gonzalez thanks the individuals who "made my teenager years so great!" and in "Graveyard Girl," he name-checks Molly Ringwald (he also takes a page from the Air playbook with allusions to stars, rockets, and other notebook-doodle favorites). There's a difference, however, between poaching from the past and recreating it. Despite the abundance of pretty-boy (and girl) vocals, oceanic keyboards, and big electronic beats--recalling '80s icons from Simple Minds to Kate Bush--Saturdays feels more like an affectionate tribute than a cynical carbon copy. Like the couple at the heart of "Kim and Jessie," Gonzalez is "crazy about romance and illusions," but all is not sweetness and light as a few numbers betray a Tim Burton-style Goth influence, which helps to alleviate any potential sugar shock. Saturdays = Youth is a precious gift from a secret admirer, wrapped in ambience and sealed with a blood-red kiss. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 14, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B00151HZME
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,820 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
M83's Anthony Gonzalez has always embraced the epic nature of his songs. When browsing through his catalog of amazing songs, you start to realize that his best are always the ones that build into grand displays of what electronic music can be with the right person behind the synth keys. On, Saturdays=Youth, Gonzalez is expanding this idea by introducing an increased importance placed on songwriting and pop sensibilities. The album is, by all accounts, a new wave album in the purest sense of the genre. Recalling the best work of groups like New Order, Flock of Seagulls, or Depeche Mode, Gonzalez has created what could possibly be his most impressive album to date.

Saturdays=Youth plays out like the long-lost soundtrack to a John Hughes movie (actually cited by Anthony as an inspiration for the album), or a bonus CD for Donnie Darko. The scene pictured on the album cover should back me up on this. Gonzalez does more than just capture the mood of the cinematic era, however. The majority of the lyrics on the album are just as lovingly cheesy and melodramatic as can be, filled with such poignantly bad lines like "7am/dusty road/I'm going to drive until it burns my bones" or "The cemetary is my home/I want to be a part of it/invisible even to the night/and I'll read poetry to the stars." But these awesomely bad lines hardly distract from the mood of the album; if anything, they enhance it! It's like watching Sixteen Candles all over again!

That's not to say that you had to be around in the 80s to enjoy this though. I'm too young to remember anything from that era, and everything I know about it is second hand (Anthony, himself, is only 26). Still, I've found Saturdays=Youth to be an enchanting album.
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Format: Audio CD
M83's sole core member, Anthony Gonzalez, calls Saturdays=Youth his paean to being a teenager and the discovery that comes with it. In fact, I've always linked M83's music to that volatile period of time, no matter how Gonzalez intended for me to hear it. The flagrantly synthetic drones on Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts (2003) and the exploding circuits on Before the Dawn Heals Us (2005) resembled cascades of emotion pouring out after years of repression. There's a subtle but perceptible hint of violence rumbling at the bottom of songs like "In Church" and "On a White Lake, Near a Green Mountain" that would erupt if only it could make it past the layers of heaving synths that crush it. With an impossibly expansive sound and an inclination to remain in a perpetual state of emotional release, M83's discography is a terrifyingly close aural approximation of--to borrow one of his song titles--"Teen Angst."

On Saturdays=Youth, Gonzalez aims to transport us to a happier place, to cut out the garbage and the herky-jerky experiences that inevitably populated our youth. "I loved being a teenager," Gonzalez explains in the album's press release, "That's when I discovered music and started to take drugs and party with my friends." However we spent our Saturdays as teenagers, they were respites from the drudgery of the rest of the week, when we could cut our teeth on being young in a big, beautiful world. Working with coveted producers Ken Thomas and Ewan Pearson (the latter of whom is responsible for some of the most joyous remixes of the decade) to bring that respite back into our consciousness, Gonzalez more than delivers, not only making us nostalgic for the past, but even filling in the gaps of what may have never been.
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Format: Audio CD
I am late in reviewing this, I purchased the day of it's release. It was one of those albums that I had to put away for a while. I didn't put it away because it wasn't good, but because it struck a fragile chord with me. From the moment You Appearing started, my mood completely changed. This album is beautiful and bittersweet, just like those great memories that it does so well at conjuring. For me, there is always a bit of sad longing in the memories of my best times. That feeling mixed with M83's ability to always present moving pieces of music make this album very powerful to me. This is an album of past summers, limitless hopes, growing up, and the highs and lows that come with those life experiences. It's hopeful and tragic all at the same time. To me it's very deep and presents many layers of beautiful music and emotion. I recommend this album to anyone looking for something deeper than your average release.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the most perfect M83 album yet. Compared to Gonzalez's previous ambitious, yet somewhat tiresome When the Dawn Heals Us, Saturdays=Youth is a refinedly concentrated short story of shoegaze/retro bliss. The undeniable melodrama of his fragmented narratives (see "Graveyard Girl") is more digestably sparse in the smaller architecture of the 11-song heartbeat; but the awkward, naive statements effectively serve to enhance the awkward stages of Gonzalez's characters. The vulnerable, diaphanous and hopeful retro sensibility breathes vividly in Gonzalez's soul, and yet his carefully chosen sounds reveal the added shimmer and depth of 21st century techno. His tunes are so thoughtfully derived with historical precision that they work to disarmingly transfigure a pure moment from the 80s (perhaps even more pure...). Moreover, Saturdays=Youth is so obsessed with avoiding even the slightest hint of superfluous ambience and percussion that the effect is slick and masterful.

The artwork says it all: Francis Bacon-ly beautiful, fashion-conscious kiddos brim-full of inexplicable emotions, gathering at the edge of an autumnal wood. The deep colors, pale fires within those fading trees is a testament not to what those kids are feeling, but rather that they are still able to feel at all. It's easy to roll busy eyes and judge a scene like this as the classic Western petri dish of youthful self-obsession--self-fulfilling Goth-mentalities of longing and despair; obstinate druggies replaying irrational fantasies in their growingly incompatible minds; lone dancers, searching aimlessly; unfounded Greco ideals of divine love that serve consumed egos.
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M83 - Saturday = Youth
I am not sure about this one. The album sounds like it came from the 80's. My co-worker thinks it is awesome because it is comical that an album in 2008 would be so 80's. I still can't get around it.
May 22, 2008 by J. Dutcher |  See all 2 posts
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