Midnight City

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"Midnight City"
Single by M83
from the album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Released 16 August 2011 (2011-08-16)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2010/2011
Genre Synthpop, new wave, dream pop
Length 4:03
Label Naïve (France), Columbia (Worldwide)
Writer(s) Anthony Gonzalez, Yann Gonzalez, Morgan Kibby, Justin Meldal-Johnsen
Producer(s) Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Anthony Gonzalez
M83 singles chronology
"Black Hole"
(2010)
"Midnight City"
(2011)
"Reunion"
(2012)
Music video
"Midnight City" (Official)

"Midnight City" is a song by French electronic music band M83. The track was first released in France on 16 August 2011, as the lead single from the group's sixth studio album, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. The song was written by Anthony Gonzalez, Yann Gonzalez, Morgan Kibby and Justin Meldal-Johnsen. The track saw international success, peaking at number eight in France and charting on Billboard Alternative Songs and Rock Songs charts. Due to French network TF1's use of the song as the closing theme after the UEFA Euro 2012 football matches, the song topped the digital French chart.[1] Elsewhere, "Midnight City" rose to acclaim in the United Kingdom in 2012, following its selection as the theme to reality TV show Made in Chelsea and prominent usage for the BBC's London 2012 Olympic Games coverage; peaking at number thirty-four on the UK Singles Chart.[2]

Recording and release[edit]

Gonzalez's observations of Downtown Los Angeles at night helped inspire "Midnight City"'s lyrics.[3] Gonzalez created the song's opening riffs by heavily distorting his own voice.[4] The song ends on a saxophone solo played by Fitz and The Tantrums' James King.[5] Regarding the solo, Gonzalez said: "Sometimes a song needs an element to be finished. You know that this element has been overused in the past and is considered cliched or cheesy, but the song needs it."[6]

Going with Hurry Up, We're Dreaming's theme of childhood, the artwork for the "Midnight City" single was meant to reflect the fascination a kid experiences while watching a fantasy or science fiction film. Gonzalez described the single's cover as "a crazy looking alien, a sort of mix of owls and E.T. and science fiction and fantasy movies like The Neverending Story."[7]

The song premiered online on 19 July 2011 as a MP3 download,[8][9] and was officially released on 16 August 2011.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

"Midnight City" has received much praise from critics, with some critics calling it the best song of 2011. It is ranked the 116th most acclaimed song by Acclaimed Music. Pitchfork Media's Brandon Stosuy wrote: "'Midnight City' comes off like Gonzalez's '1979.' The parallels are there, from the instantly memorable riff to the gentle sense of longing, but 'Midnight City' feels like a song destined to move and change as it continues into the future and beyond. Rather than tapping into our collective memory, it's a soundtrack for building new ones."[11] Ryan Reed of PopMatters also praised the song, writing: "On this transcendent standout [...] Anthony Gonzalez and co-synth-scientist Justin Meldal-Johnsen build layer upon layer of keys, arena-sized drums, and vocal atmospherics (not mentioning one of the tastiest sax solos this side of a Springsteen record). The result? The synth Sistine Chapel."[12] Josh Jackson of Paste wrote that the song "[...] sees Anthony Gonzalez at his spacey, dramatic best," while Spin's Charles Aaron described the song as "[...] Korg synths set to 'stunned.'"[13][14]

The track was ranked fifth on Triple J's Hottest 100 listing for 2011.[15]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Pitchfork Media US Top 100 Tracks of 2011[11] 2011 1
Paste US 50 Best Songs of 2011[13] 2011 2
PopMatters US 75 Best Songs of 2011[12] 2011 1
Spin US 20 Best Songs of 2011[14] 2011 12
Triple J Australia Hottest 100[15] 2011 5

Music video[edit]

A music video for "Midnight City", directed by Fleur & Manu, was released on 17 October 2011.[16] The video features telekinetic children who escape a boarding school and test their powers in an abandoned warehouse.[17] The video is the first part of a trilogy which is continued in the video for "Reunion" and concluded in the video for "Wait".[18]

According to M83, the video is a tribute to Akira, Village of the Damned, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.[16]

The final scene with the sunset was shot on a rooftop of a car park in Porte de la Chapelle, in Paris.

Performance and usage in media[edit]

M83 performed the song live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on 21 November 2011.[19] In December 2011, the song was performed live on Last Call with Carson Daly.[20]

"Midnight City" was used in some commercials and TV shows after its release. The song was featured in a Victoria's Secret commercial, an advert for Renault Captur, a Gucci perfume commercial featuring Blake Lively, an advert for Ariel 3-in-1 Pods and a video commercial for Polish beer Lech.[19][21][22] It served as the theme song to Made in Chelsea, something Gonzalez said was "an opportunity for people to hear my music who'd never listen to it otherwise."[6] It was also featured in the final scene and closing credits of the HBO television series How to Make It in America.[23] The song was used in the feature films Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012)[24] and Warm Bodies (2013).[25] In 2013 the song was used in the first season finale of The Mindy Project.[26] Christina Aguilera sampled "Midnight City" in the opening of her seventh album Lotus.[27] The song is featured in the pilot of Beauty & the Beast.[28] The song was also used in the soundtrack of Dutch TV movie 'Boys' (2014) and came out briefly in the movie 22 Jump Street.

The song was also used in several sports broadcasts. On 21 December 2011, "Midnight City" was used in the final moments of the second episode of HBO's television series, 24/7 Flyers-Rangers: The Road to the Winter Classic.[29] The BBC used "Midnight City" as the theme music to their trail for the BBC coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The trail was first broadcast just after midnight on the morning of 1 January 2012.[30] ESPN used the song in its trailer for the second season of 30 for 30.[31] In its home country, the song was used by French network TF1 as the closing theme following the UEFA Euro 2012 football matches, which helped the song to top the digital chart.[1]

In 2012, the song was used as the soundtrack for a campaign video of Julien Rochedy, the President of the youth electoral support committee of Front National. Gonzalez objected to the song's usage in the video, writing in a Facebook post that the Front National did not ask permission from him for use, and that M83 did not associate with any political parties.[32][33]

The song was also featured in Gameloft's videogame GT Racing 2.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Midnight City"   4:04
2. "Midnight City"   4:01

Remix EP[edit]

On 27 September 2011, M83 released a remix EP in advance of the album. The following tracks were on the EP:[34]

No. Title Length
1. "Midnight City"   4:05
2. "Midnight City (Man Without Country Remix)"   4:13
3. "Midnight City (Team Ghost Remix)"   3:58
4. "Midnight City (Trentemøller Remix)"   7:29
5. "Midnight City (Big Black Delta Remix)"   3:41

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "TF1 propulse M83 en tête des charts, grâce à l'Euro 2012". Charts in France (in French). 14 June 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Chart Profile > M83 > Midnight City". Chart Stats. 2012-01-20. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22.  It is ranked the 116th most acclaimed song by acclaimedmusic.net.
  3. ^ M83 interview - Anthony Gonzalez (part 5). YouTube. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  4. ^ Dombal, Ryan (2 October 2011). "Interviews: M83". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Siese, April. Doin’ That Voodoo With Fitz And The Tantrums. Antiquiet.com. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  6. ^ a b Richards, Sam. M83's Anthony Gonzalez is ready for the fast lane. The Guardian. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  7. ^ Features - M83's - Anthony Gonzalez. Urban Outfitters. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Midnight City by M83". SoundCloud. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Breihan, Tom (19 July 2011). "M83 Announces New Album; Hear New Track". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Midnight City – Single by M83". iTunes Store US. Apple Inc. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  11. ^ a b The Top 100 Tracks of 2011. Pitchfork Media. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  12. ^ a b The 75 Best Songs of 2011. PopMatters. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  13. ^ a b Josh, Jackson (30 November 2011). "The 50 Best Songs of 2011". Paste. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Aaron, Charles. SPIN's 20 Best Songs of 2011. Spin. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  15. ^ a b "Countdown - Full List". Triple J. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Midnight City. ilovem83.com. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  17. ^ Smith, K. Watch M83's "Midnight City" Video. Paste. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  18. ^ Saeed, Abdullah. ""Wait" Completes M83's Sci-Fi Music Video Trilogy [Exclusive Premiere]". the creators project. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Hogan, Marc. M83 Visit Saxy 'Midnight City' on 'Fallon'. Spin. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  20. ^ Phillips, Amy. Watch M83 on "Carson Daly". Pitchfork Media. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  21. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin. Watch: Nicolas Winding Refn Directed Gucci Premiere Ad Starring Blake Lively. Indiewire.com. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  22. ^ New campaign for Polish brewery LECH Licensing. Schubert Music Publishing. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  23. ^ "How To Make It In America: S 1 EP 01 Pilot: Music". HBO. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  24. ^ Hewett, Chris (5 July 2012). "'Katy Perry: Part of Me' review: Don't like Katy Perry? Just wait". twincities.com. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  25. ^ Frazier, Adam (1 February 2013). "Movie Review: Warm Bodies". geeksofdoom.com. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  26. ^ McNutt, Myles (15 May 2013). "“Take Me With You” - The Mindy Project". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  27. ^ Hampp, Andrew (21 September 2012). "Christina Aguilera: Billboard Cover Story". Billboard. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  28. ^ "Beauty and the Beast Music - Season 1, Episode 1". The CW. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  29. ^ 24/7 Music. HBO. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  30. ^ Mosey, Roger. "Anticipating the BBC's 2012 coverage" [1]. BBC Sport. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  31. ^ 30 For 30 Volume 2 Trailer. ESPN. 13 May 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  32. ^ Snapes, Laura. Outraged Over "Midnight City" Association With French Right Wing Political Party Le Front National. Pitchfork Media. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  33. ^ Valerio, Ivan. Le FN a-t-il pillé les droits du groupe électro M83?. Europe 1. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  34. ^ Midnight City (Remixes) - EP. iTunes Store. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  35. ^ "Australian-charts.com – M83 – Midnight City". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  36. ^ "Ultratop.be – M83 – Midnight City" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  37. ^ "Ultratop.be – M83 – Midnight City" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  38. ^ "Canadian Active Rock & Alt Rock Chart Archive: Alternative Rock – April 17, 2012". America's Music Charts. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  39. ^ "Lescharts.com – M83 – Midnight City" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  40. ^ "Mexico Ingles Airplay". Billboard. 
  41. ^ "Archive Chart". Scottish Singles Top 40. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  42. ^ "M83 – Midnight City – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  43. ^ "January 2012/ Archive Chart" UK Indie Chart. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  44. ^ "M83 Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for M83. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  45. ^ a b "M83 Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Songs for M83. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  46. ^ "M83 Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for M83. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  47. ^ "Best of 2012 - Rock Songs 11-20". Billboard.com. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  48. ^ "Best of 2012 - Alternative Songs 11-20". Billboard.com. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  49. ^ "French single certifications – M83 – Midnight City" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  50. ^ "Palmarès 2012 des certifications UPFI". UPFI. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  51. ^ "British single certifications – M83 – Midnight City". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Midnight City in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Click Go
  52. ^ "American single certifications – M83 – Midnight City". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 10 May 2013.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  53. ^ Paul Grein (12 June 2013). "Week Ending June 9, 2013. Songs: Pretty Fly For A White Guy". Chart Watch (Yahoo Music). 

External links[edit]