Oh, this is that song from that commercial. Oh, this is that song from that movie trailer. Oh, this is that song from that X Games. Oh, this is that song from that Victoria’s Secret.
Anthony “Chilly Synthesizers” Gonzalez’s agressive licensing of his M83 music—frigid nostalgia-scapes in varying degrees of blissful triumph and triumphant bliss—has made him the Moby for a new generation. Which is to say his tunes are emotionless simulations of pop music engineered to sell Scandinavian furniture and vodka. I think the big reason people inexplicably flipped for his bloated double album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is that the Frenchman finally started to make his dry records sound like his punchier live shows. M83 started sounding like a band, not a computer project.
Yet, oddly, as I approached the stage, quite easily in a relatively sparse crowd, the band sounded flat and distant. With wireless instruments, there’s an eerie sense that these guys (and a girl) are just pretending. Gonzalez and his ringers make Kraftwerk look like Iggy Pop. As the sun set, the band’s energy elevated. Gonzalez spends most of his licensing royalties on gym memberships and laser (I’m guessing), so it should come as no shock that darkness and neon puts a little spunk in his playing… I don’t know what climactic instrumentals were, the music from Tom Cruise’s Legend?
Here’s a bad sign if you’re a band: The crowd’s only cheers come for the saxophone solos. Here’s a worse sign: The crowd heads for the hills when that one hit that sounds like a monkey sneezing is over.
A girl passed in front of me, seriously asking her pal, “Is he singing, ‘Just tweet it’?” She truly believes this band is capable of a lyric like that. Make that bad sign number three.