Saturday, May 23, 2015

M83 - Graveyard Girl

I keep bumping into M83, and from a variety of sources.

The French electronic band has been around for a while, since 2001, but it was not until 2006 when founding member Anthony (Yann) Gonzalez took things into a different, slightly more experimentative direction. The other founding member Nicolas Fromageau had left in 2005 and this left Yann in the lone position of creative control, and it was sort of like he was let loose. The songs I am encountering by M83 that are endearing me to them all seem to come after 2006. In fact more specifically I am growing very fond off M83’s last two albums “Saturdays = Youth” (2008) and “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” (2011).

M83 has a weird sound to them, it is not entirely unique in the style of modern music making but there is enough of an individual flare that makes them, at least to me, stand out. They sort of remind me of Daft Punk with the effort of atmosphere like Sigur Ros, or maybe something like MGMT. I do not know, this genre, whatever it is we call it these days is not exactly my most familiar, but I do know I like it. However for the sake of pinpointing a specific track to ramble about I elect one of M83’s tracks that sounds a little more simplistic, a song a little less dependent on the power of technology, “Graveyard Girl.”

While the majority of M83 tracks are very processed and rely heavily on the synthesizer keyboard, “Graveyard Girl” has a fun upbeat rhythm section composed of the keyboard, naturally, and a nice beat from the drums. The drums are a little more noticeable in this song compared to other M83 songs because it does not exists so much in the shadow of the keyboard, and I like it. Also there is a lead guitar, and again when compared to most M83 songs, it too gets to shine a little more than usual because the keyboard is a little more relaxed. In fact, relaxed, or perhaps, mellow, would be a fitting one word description for this tune. Do to the mellow nature of the song a clear symmetry flows through, very much like every M83 songs, but this one is more subdued, less energy, more emotion, or something like that.

When listening to other songs I really enjoyed by M83 such as “Midnight City” or “Wait” it is impossible to deny just how much M83’s sound is very processed; so much so it sounds very much like they are relying on a machine to do the work for them. However there are lots of bands out there like that right now and I’ve seen Foster the People live, they had a whole band and everything, they were real musicians. Judging from the live performance of “Graveyard Girl” I guess the same conclusion can be drawn for M83:

The lyrics are fun.

“Death is her boyfriend.
She spits on summers and smiles to the night.
She collects crowns made of black roses,
But her heart is made of bubble gum.

Graveyard girl

Dark rags and red stars.
She's the dirty witch of her high school.
She worships Satan like a father,
But dreams of a sister like Molly Ringwald.”

The music video had a look reminiscent of “Pretty in Pink” or “Sixteen Candles,” what with an awkward red haired girl in high school being the “Graveyard Girl,” then you pick up on the “Molly Ringwald” name drop and everything makes sense.

In this day in age, most of us, if not all of us, probably know a girl like the one described in “Graveyard Girl.” Some young goth girl, who believes herself to be a lot deeper and mature then she really is, and despite this warped sense of self, that is somehow both egotistical and self-loathing, there is a intelligent light behind her eyes and true poet’s heart beating in her chest. I wonder if Yann has read much Christopher Moore, because “Graveyard Girl” makes me think of Abby Normal, from his San Francisco vampire stories.

The only other spoken words in the song come to us in a monologue from the “Graveyard Girl” herself, which I believe help cements my theoretical comparison:

"Graveyard Girl" by Unearthlydreams
"I'm gonna jump the walls and run
I wonder if they'll miss me?
I won't miss them
The cemetery is my home
I want to be a part of it
Invisible even to the night
Then I'll read poetry to the stones
Maybe one day I could be one of them...
Wise and silent
Waiting for someone to love me
Waiting for someone to kiss me
I'm fifteen years old
And I feel it's already too late to live
Don't you?"

Yeah that is the kind of stuff an Abby Normal like character would say. Maybe it is not sarcastic enough, but still. Clearly there is a great deal to enjoy here, fun song, fun lyrics, great possible connections to a variety of girls, both real and fictional.

Until next month, keep on rocking the free world.

- King of Braves

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