Saturday, September 29, 2012

Top 12 M83 Songs

A picture I snapped of M83 at Coachella in April

I’m strict about dedicating this site to movies, because movies are my life. M83, however, is more than music. To me, they are inspiration. They are hope and sadness and desperation and peace.

Since discovering their work, M83 was quite literally influenced every single writing and film project I have been involved with. They are as much to thank for my creativity and passion for film as anything.

Tonight, M83 comes to my neck of the words, making it the third time I have seen them live. In the past five months. Rock ‘n’ roll.

And So it Begins is a movie blog. This is just a different angle of my process.

Honorable Mention
We Own the Sky
from Saturdays = Youth


At a house party in July 2010, as the first thunderous beats of “We Own the Sky” began to play over the speakers, I looked over at the computer cranking the tunes, slowly walked up to it, and made sure to lock the band’s name into my memory. I’ve listened to a variation of their music everyday since.

12. Midnight City
from Hurry Up, We're Dreaming


It’s all in that intro. Those obscure, confounding series of noises that should in no way work. But do. And then some. THAT is power.

11. I Guess I’m Floating
from Before the Dawn Heals Us

I try to limit my lists to 10, but sometimes I simply can’t. When I finalized the tracks below, I realized this miraculously tranquil song wasn’t included, and then I remembered the solace it brought me in the days leading up to the release of my short film, Earrings. “I Guess I’m Floating” was there for me in ways no person was. An endearing work of art.

10. Fields, Shorelines and Hunters
from Before the Dawn Heals Us

There are really three sides to M83: The serene, the pop bombast, and the grab-you-by-the-throat roller coaster. Place “Fields, Shorelines and Hunters” in the last category. A track that says, “Buckle the fuck up. For here we go.”

9. Sitting
from M83

“Let’s go.”

That’s goddamn right.

8. Wait
from Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

The most common question I’ve received in regards to Earrings is, “What’s next?” Well, to finally answer affirmatively, it will be one of two things. The first film is the best thing I’ve ever written, but would be very expensive in terms of locations and extras. The second idea is called Wait, and is based solely on the limitless inspiration this song has provided me. What occurs on and after 4:11 never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

Stay tuned.

7. Raconte-Moi Une Histoire
from Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

Hey, let’s make a song in which a six-year-old girl tells a story about a frog from the stream of consciousness of a six-year-old girl.

How the hell could a song like this work? Well, it couldn’t. Point in fact, I don’t know one person (myself included) who liked "Raconte-Moi Une Histoire" (translation: Tell me a story) the first time they heard it. But I know dozens of people (myself included) who love it now.

What’s better, the flight of 2:10, or the wail of 2:53? Impossibly hopeful.

6. Don’t Save Us from the Flames
from Before the Dawn Heals Us

A perfect track for the grab-you-by-the-throat category. “Don’t Save Us from the Flames” jumps off right away, then slows, then jumps, then flies.

Bleeding all around, yeah.

5. You, Appearing
from Saturdays = Youth

“We Own the Sky” was my first introduction to M83, but “You, Appearing” was my first real introduction to the full scope of their music. The opening track to Saturdays = Youth, I was immediately transfixed with its steady power.

This song still runs chills down my spine.

4. Can’t Stop
from Before the Dawn Heals Us

Arguably the band’s most hated song, “Can’t Stop” is, essentially, front man Anthony Gonzalez repeating the words, “I can’t stop, I can’t stop yeah,” 34 times.

But, my god, does this track grab me.

3. Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun
from Before the Dawn Heals Us

I’m frankly surprised that “Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun” is the only epic M83 track that made my list, but no matter, this 10:42-long godsend starts exactly how it should, and ends precisely how we want it to. And believe you me, there is not one wasted second in between.

2. Outro
from Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

When I was visualizing the concept of the trailer for Earrings, I knew right away that we were going to do something different. Breaking the fourth wall is tricky, and showing a scene in the trailer that is not in the movie is something I normally detest. But once I heard what “Outro” does at 1:35, I was convinced that I had to do what I had to do.

I’m quite proud of that trailer for a multitude of reasons, but if anyone finds any shred of power in it, “Outro” is largely to thank.



1. Intro
from Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

A story: on October 4, 2011, I discovered that Urban Outfitters was legally streaming M83’s new album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, on its website. I hit play. The first song was “Intro,” and my life was forever altered.

How does one explain the power of music to someone else? Someone hears a song a disregards it as mindless trash. Another person hears the same song and appreciates its scope. A movie-obsessed guy looking to make a film hears a song and his life clicks into place.

By the time I first heard “Intro,” Earrings was all but written. I mean literally. I had everything outlined in my head, I just had to perform the arduous task of committing the idea to paper. I had delayed it to the point that I didn’t think it would ever get written. The evening of Oct. 4, I rushed home and wrote the first draft in one sitting.

That’s the power of music. That’s the catharsis that an extended wail of the word “hail,” followed promptly by as inspiring a beat drop as I’ve ever heard, had over me.

I’ve listened to “Intro” at least once everyday since that glorious afternoon in October, and when Gonzalez and company (hopefully) cue up the song this evening, my life will be as content as it possibly can.


38 comments:

  1. "Don't Save Us From the Flames" was my introduction to the band. That video is among one of my all-time favorites. I just love the way it looked. I also love "Graveyard Girl" and "Skin of the Night" from Saturdays=Youth which is probably favorite M83 album.

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    1. Oh man, I love all of their videos, especially the crispness of their new ones. I love that their vids have stayed so restrained even though their budgets have increased dramatically.

      Either way, really glad to hear you dig the band so much. Saturdays = Youth is perfect.

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  2. Nice list man. There are so many great tracks here, but "Raconte-Moi Une Histoire" is tops for me. It's so infectious, so brilliant.

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    1. I'm so happy that you like that song. The first time I heard it, I was like, "What the hell is this? Really?"

      And then, like you said, it infected me with its charm and stayed. Brilliant indeed.

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  3. Great list. After you first mentioned M83 on here a while back I went and checked out "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming". Since then it's become one of my favorite albums ever. In my mind nothing can top "Wait" and "My Tears are Become a Sea".

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    1. I am SO GLAD you mentioned both of those songs. The show on Saturday was the third time I've seen them live this year, and by far the longest set I've seen them play. I mention this because it was the first time I heard them sing "Wait" and "My Tears," and it was fucking remarkable. Brought tears to my eyes.

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  4. Excellent post! Thanks for introducing me to this group, a while back, when you were blogging about Earrings. And yes, music definitely inspires creativity in various areas.

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    1. Thanks! And you are welcome! I LOVE how music can be such an inspiration for creativity.

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  5. How terrible to admit that my love of Britney Spears brought me to my love for M83? Ever since I watched the final scene of "Britney Spears For The Record" featuring Lower Your Eyes... I loved M83. Even better to see them in concert! Thanks for this awesome post, Alex. I think it's really cool to explore how music inspires your creativity here. It's all art and very connected. :-)

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    1. Ha, well however you found M83... at least you found them. I can't even lie, that scene in the Britney Spears doc was really effective, thanks much in part to M83's track. Either way, I'm so glad you dig them! They inspire me to no end.

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  6. Just had to come here and announce my undying love for M83! Funny how we were both inspired by them. I can't wait to see what they'll come up next, though they've earned some time off after their fantastic new album.

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    1. Nice! I knew you were a fan, so thanks so much for commenting!

      Favorite song...?

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  7. Can't believe I missed this post, since I'm now just as huge a fan as you. Love all your picks man (especially glad to see "I Guess I'm Floating" here). Here's my top ten, roughly:

    HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Sitting, Staring at Me, My Face, In Church, Fields Shorelines and Hunters, I Guess I'm Floating, Teen Angst, A Guitar and a Heart, Lower Your Eyelids..., Coloring the Void, You Appearing, Skin of the Night, Until the Night is Over, Intro, Splendor, Fountains, Echoes of Mine

    10: By the Kiss
    Ears nearly exploded first time I heard this. Incredibly simple but just pure wow.
    9: In the Cold I'm Standing
    "Summer's come alive." Nuff said.
    8: Dark Moves of Love
    Again, I only need to quote the lyrics here to sum up how powerful and beautiful this song is: "I will fight the time and bring you back."
    7: My Tears Are Becoming A Sea
    Short but explosively beautiful. Impossible not to bang your head when that beat kicks in.
    6: We Own the Sky
    Just... infectious.
    5: Outro
    Best album closer since LCD Soundsystem's "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down."
    4: Wait
    My entire body just goes numb when I listen to this. Heavenly and astounding.
    3: Midnight City
    The "popular" one, sure, but it's popular for a reason. Damn catchy and just brilliant to listen to. That sax...
    2: Too Late
    Used to be my favourite, but fell into second. Still love it though. That line of piano may be simple but fuck does it hit me hard every time.
    1: Couleurs
    Probably the greatest pure electro-instrumental track of all time. When it kicks in for a fucking fantastic reprise 6-minutes in, I'm moving like mad.

    Your thoughts?

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    1. Fucking epic picks man, thanks so much for scouting the post down and commenting. Obviously I love that Intro made its way onto your honorable mentions, but yeah, I am with you on all of these.

      Like I said on Twitter last night, they always close their shows with Couleurs and it is fucking nuts. The song that I'm obsessed with right now is Wait. Listening to that on repeat, letting it inspire the new script I'm writing (which is called...Wait.)

      I would be curious to go back and redraft my list. See what would be ranked higher, and what new songs would be added. Maybe soon!

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  8. Wow. Simply amazing. Really loved the tranquility and the beauty the songs brought. "My tears are becoming a sea" and "Lower your eyelids to die with the sun" two of my favorites, gave me chills down my spine and brought tears to my eyes. Those were great picks and I definitely agree with your list. Good luck with your movies!

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    1. Damn man, this comment just made my day. Always love finding another M83 fan!

      Thanks for much for the well wishes about my films, that was very kind of you to say.

      And thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  9. I really love "Echoes of Mine" - do you guys know any songs that sound similar to this? Thanks!!!

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    1. That's a great one. I find similarities in "Fields, Shorelines and Hunters" "Dark Moves of Love" and "Highway of Endless Dreams."

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

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  10. Wow, I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Earlier today I did not know anything about M83, and now, in a matter of a few short hours, I can safely say it is my favorite band. Never before has music brought up so many emotions in me. Thank you for this amazing blog and for introducing me and others to this inspirational, epic sensation that is M83 music! "Outro", "Intro" "Klaus I Love You" and "Wait" are my definite favorites so far!

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    1. My god, you're so kind to post this comment. Seriously, it made my day.

      First and foremost, I am SO pumped that you have discovered and quickly come to love M83. By far my favorite band - I just love the hell out of them.

      Second, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a kind comment. "Intro" is still my favorite song of theirs, no doubt. Also, my next film is called "Wait" and is, in part, influenced by the emotion I get from that song. Love it.

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  11. No Farewell/goodbye? The greatest M83 song of all time?

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    1. Man, if I redid this list today, that would definitely make the cut. I love that song. Might just go ahead and update the list soon.

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  12. hey, does anyone know if "skin of the night" has ever been used in movies / tv shows? That or the vocal hook sounds remarkably like something I've heard many moons ago.. thanks

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    1. Hi Greg, thanks for stopping by. That's a great question. From what I can tell, "Skin of the Night" hasn't been used in any well known TV show or movie, which really surprises me. Here's a great list of occurrences in which their music has been used.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M83_(band)#M83_music_in_films_and_television

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  13. How did I come by here? funny story. Heard an amazing song in a movie called blue velvet.. song called mysterios of love.. loved the song, really loved it.. and therefore I needed it more songs like that one, so I started looking for similar bands or songs.. and I happened to came across a genre called dream pop.. and finally this band, M83.. then I wrote "M83 best songs" in google and here I am.... just finishing listening to "intro".. what a wonderful song.. just what I was looking for.. THANKS!

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    1. That's awesome! Thanks so much for hunting down M83, I love doing whatever I can to support that band. And thanks for commenting here, it means a lot!

      Song tip: M83's album, Digital Shades: Vol. 1 is almost entirely instrumental and is definitely similar to Angelo Badalamenti's work for Blue Velvet. A YouTube user has uploaded the entire album, and here's the first track:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_gKQ8KHQTA

      Enjoy!

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  14. By a long shot for me it still has to be 0078h, does it everytime

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    1. Yeah that's a great one. Crazy shit.

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  15. you should give 'the highest journey' from digital shades a listen.

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    1. Oh, I do everyday. Digital Shades is my favorite album to write to. Coloring the Void is my favorite.

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  16. How come I've never seen this post?? I love we own the sky and midnight city. will check the others soon. cool that you used it for your trailer.

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    1. I LOVE M83. My favorite band. My film was really connected to their music. I could never picture Earrings without M83. So glad to hear you're a fan.

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  17. I've always loved "Raconte-Moi Une Histoire". I think I'm the only one out of my friends that enjoy these type of music. All they listen to is pop and hip hop which I listen to also but too much of it can be redundant. I've played Raconte in my car and my friends would laugh and say things like the kid is on drugs. The thing about children is that it's comes natural to have an imaginative, creative mind without the use of drugs. Raconte to me is about innocent imaginations that is somehow lost on certain adults hence, my friends. This entire album gives me a sense of optimism found in dreams. I first was introduce to M83 through the trailer of "Cloud Atlas", I can listen to "Outro" repeatedly without ever getting bored. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0LLkNma0lI This one of the best edits I have seen for this song. The scene where the kid is playing with the kite just makes me smile. Thank you for creating this page. :)

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    1. Thank YOU for reading and commenting. I love hearing how M83 inspires other people. "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" has had such a huge impact on my life, more so than any other album. I agree with you about "Raconte." That's a very special kind of song. Very different, very true. I adore it to no end.

      And that video you linked was great. Thanks for that!

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  18. I would list Outro, personally as my favorite, followed closely by Moonchild.

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    1. Love both of them. I once found an hour long version of Moonchild that I adored. Song never gets old. Thanks for the comment!

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  19. Great list. But a couple of my favourites are Steve Mcqueen and Ok pal :)

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    1. LOVE both of those songs. Endlessly entertaining. So damn fun. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

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