M83’s long-awaited album is finally here to grace our ears with the sounds we have come to expect from Anthony Gonzalez. Or are they?
The first track of the album, ‘Do It, Try It’, was also the first single to be released, and it became quite apparent that the artist has been intending to go in a different direction. For the longtime fans of M83’s work, it takes a few listens for this song to become one that grows on you. In contrast, ‘Sunday Night 1987’ is probably the track most reminiscent of older work – less pop and 80s synths, more ethereal vocals by Gonzalez and a harmonica to conclude both track and album. The two tracks bookend an album that has a song for everyone.
There are the instrumental ‘Moon Crystal’ (quite generic-sounding), ‘Tension’, and ‘Ludivine’, bringing us to the familiar sounds of ‘Midnight Souls Still Remain’; the last track on 2008’s Saturdays = Youth. The theme of love is heavily prevalent in Junk, with ‘Atlantique Sud’, a tender dialogue of longing in Gonzalez’ and Mai Lan’s native French; ‘For The Kids’ – a mother and child’s bond, melancholically voiced by Susanne Sundfor, who also lent her voice to 2013’s title track Oblivion; and ‘Walkway Blues’ – a funkier introduction that segues into lyrics of heartbreak, notably ‘you walked off with someone new anyway/I’m lost on the sidewalk (calling your name)’.
For those who discovered M83 through 2011’s chart-topping ‘Midnight City’, Junk’s ‘Road Blaster’ is sure to satisfy the craving for a trademark M83 power tune, albeit a more 80s-sounding one.
By dictionary definition, Junk may mean worthless things, but not so in relation to M83’s seventh studio album. I choose to pair the album title with the other definition of the word – belongings – M83’s dynamic, dreamy melodies.