Saturday, December 24, 2011

Best albums of 2011

3 M83 – Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
A huge great sprawling double album with everything and the kitchen sink thrown in, made by one man. There are saxophones and slapped basses, walls of synths and I wouldn't be surprised if there was a key-tar in there somewhere. All things I normally hate and the opposite of most of the albums I have loved this year. And he is French. (I am not one to disparage a whole nation, but it is a truism – the French and pop music don't mix. How many great French rock stars or albums can you name?)

However, this is amazing: 22 tracks and not one dud. Quite an achievement. It is so improbable that I keep disbelieving it myself, but every time I put it on I am totally transfixed. I suspect it is a good old-fashioned concept album, only I have no idea what the concept is. The music moves from thumping, big synth-dominated dancefloor fillers to delicate acoustic lullabies and stories about frogs.

The first and last tracks are labelled intro and outro and that seems exactly right. You enter this extraordinary different world, travelling through this incredible imagination, before gently returning to reality. I find it almost impossible to explain why it is so good, so I will just recommend that you get a copy and lose yourself in this alternative world for an hour and a quarter.

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