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Saturdays = Youth

4.5 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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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 (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,329 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Cale E. Reneau on April 15, 2008
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 Verified Purchase
Shamefully unaware of the existence of the coded "m83" artist/band, I powered-on my Pandora station seeded upon the glorious Tears for Fears "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." I am certain, reader, you know where this is going. Following the usual lovely 80's-fare, a song dripping with synth-seagulls and muffled-esque vocals wandered along the player. I failed to look up instantly, continuing to focus upon my grad school reading at the time. Initially, "I don't know this 80's song," was the only fleeting thought across my mind. As the unsuspecting chorus engaged, however, I could no longer ignore the calling. "What IS this?," I strongly inquired to an empty room. I was almost angry that I did not recognize a genuine new-wave classic (PS - Yes, New Wave is a very real genre. End the debate). In viewing the little Pandora player, I was inundated by 3 lines of nonsense: "Kim & Jessie"; "m83"; "Saturdays=Youth." Research ensued, uncovering the jarring reality that this was, indeed, a CURRENT band.

Following a brief MySpace listen, the purchase was on it's way. Subsequent to receipt of tangible CD (yes, I believe in those, too), the tunes nary left the headphones or space of my experiences. Do any of you recall those formative albums, where the listen ushers in instant transportation of nostalgic times? Akin to the the way the scent of apple-cinnamon takes one back to grandma's house as a child, certain albums were crafted with such heart and thoughtfulness that they capture the spirit of one's life transition of the time. Remember those? Think: Songs from the Big Chair for my childhood, Vitalogy for my tweens and high school, Dashboard for college, and Copeland's Eat Sleep Repeat for the post-college years. While I could go on, the instance remains rare.
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