Reviews

M83 “Fantasy” Album Review

Fantasy

M83

  • Genre: Alternative
  • Date: 17 Mar, 2023
  • Content: Not-explicit
  • Region: NGA
  • Track(s): 13
  • ℗ 2023 M83 Recording Inc., exclusively distributed by Virgin Records France excluding North America

Gonzalez furthers his reputation as a producer of nostalgia pop with “Fantasy.” The album is a recreation of 1980s video game music with a decidedly contemporary twist. Gonzalez wants to reinterpret nostalgia rather than completely replicate it. This gives the record a consistency that, for the most part, works. Yet, the album’s length of approximately 70 minutes causes it to occasionally lose cohesiveness. Despite this, Gonzalez’s new record stands as a deeply personal and ambitious work that shines. “Fantasy” contains some of Gonzalez’s best singing and lyrical work.

Album Cover Art

M83 &Quot;Fantasy&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, December 6, 2023

A wandering alien lizard man with five eyes, who is also a villain with some superpowers, was discovered in the middle of nowhere wreaking havoc and was captured and thrown into a water-tight secure facility where he is incapacitated to perform, but because studies and research were being conducted to understand his strange species, his captors come in one evening to take a photograph of him in his dimly lit room. However, they fail to realize that the alien lizard man is already steps ahead, so he is giving them an eery smile of contempt because they just walked into his Fantasy.

Tracks and Features

Gonzalez hardly uses any synths on the album’s opening instrumental track, “Water Deep,” as if to defy expectations right away. The album’s second track (and first single), “Oceans Niagara,” is instead introduced with a quiet acoustic guitar strum that gradually takes center stage in the song. Gonzalez’s subsequent wilder explorations are made possible by front-loading the album’s two singles together; ”Amnesia” builds on the buzzy drive that ”Oceans Niagara” explored. The lyrics to “Amnesia” cast a dark cloud over the song’s danceable tempos and falsettos, dimming their radiance. This creates a barrier between the lyrics and the music, allowing each element of these dense textures to show through.

The acoustic guitar makes a comeback in “Radar, Far, Gone” for a folk walkabout. By veering as far away from tactile party beats as it did at this juncture, Fantasy is living up to its name. Even while a song like “Radar, Far, Gone” is obviously based on grief, it’s the album’s quiet moments of tenderness that elevate it to a new level. M83 creates the auditory counterpart of the age-old phenomena of feeling alone in a room full of people by cramming these moments of honesty into a way that feels restorative on both ends.

Chants and a leisurely arrangement are present in the sluggish song “Us and the Rest,” which eventually erupts into a cosmic and cathartic sound. ”Earth to Sea,” an otherworldly dance track that sounds like a disco somehow made it to both outer space and the ocean floor, adds to the album’s dreamy ambience. Although the pounding rhythms reappear in songs like “Fantasy” and “Sunny Boy,” the soundscapes of “Deceiver” and “Kool Nuit” turn out to be the album’s true musical signature.

The second interlude of the album, “Sunny Boy Part 2,” gradually recedes into the background as the album’s closing track, “Dismemberment Burreau,” begins with a familiar synth melody. Gonzalez continues to be as ephemeral as ever as she brings the album’s momentum to a slow, ballad-like conclusion. The words and music blend together without one taking precedence over the other. Vocals with vocoder effects eventually take over, but the lyrics remain cryptic.

Tracklist

NOTITLETIME
1Water Deep3:11
2Oceans Niagara4:31
3Amnesia4:03
4Us And The Rest5:31
5Earth To Sea6:40
6Radar, Far, Gone4:05
7Deceiver6:29
8Fantasy4:34
9Laura4:08
10Sunny Boy6:04
11Kool Nuit (feat. Kaela)7:56
12Sunny Boy, Pt. 21:59
13Dismemberment Bureau7:05

Album Theme

Fantasy is a nice step forward from an artist who is constantly looking for new ways to approach his distinctive sound, even though it might not quite pack the same impact as earlier recordings and live performances typically do. Fantasy is a completely engrossing experience that never veers into sensory overload. It is as light as a pillow but as deep as an ocean.

Production Credits

Anthony Gonzalez & Justin Meldal-Johnsen produced the album.

Stream

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