It’s rare that an album manages to entirely live up to its name. I’ve never been fully convinced by M83 as Saturdays = Youth lacked a punch and Hurry Up We’re Dreaming suffered from the double album curse of probably being better suited to being a single album. The one aspect of that record that let it down was the knowing, too clever for its own good vibe of a few of the tracks. Unfortunately on Junk, M83 have jettisoned any of the interesting aspects that made their last albums listenable and have instead boiled everything down to a screamingly annoying set of quite hideous tracks.
For The Kids is a prime example of why this record should even be avoided by the deaf. I mean, what in God’s name is this song meant to be? It’s like the worst ever 1970’s bland string laden ballad mated with the world’s worst lullaby. The track is typical of the contrived approach to this record that makes it come across at best smug and, at worst, entirely unlistenable.
Anthony Gonzalez has spoken of how this album is rooted in 80’s songs and is an album that “can make you have fun and cry at the same time.” The 80’s referencing and using that era’s power ballads as a touchstone would be fine if he could make something as gloriously daft as, say Take Me Breath Away at the Vintage TV end of the scale or Hunting High And Low at the unimpeachable classic end of the 80’s scale, but he’s missed the point entirely. He’s got it all so very, very wrong. An album that can make you have fun and cry at the same time? Tracks like Do It, Try It might, just might, work, but unadulterated drivel like Bibi The Dog or Moon Crystal make you do neither of those things.
They make you angry. They make you vein poppingly angry. A record shouldn’t make you angry. This does. Of its 15 tracks, only the opening Do It, Try It is vaguely redeemable and that gives it it’s 1 point out of ten. As for the rest of it? Tripe.
I realise this review may well be in the minority of reviews of Junk but I don’t hear what everyone else hears with M83. All I hear is music bereft of any quality control, redeeming features and most importantly soul. There’s no beating heart at the core of this record – just a cold, lifeless corpse, buried under a mountain of its own pompous, smug effluence.
Avoid it basically.