Saturdays = Youth

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Saturdays = Youth
Studio album by M83
Released 11 April 2008 (2008-04-11)
Recorded 2007; Rockfield Studios
(Monmouth, Wales)
Genre Electronic, shoegazing, dream pop, ambient, new wave
Length 62:10
Label Virgin/EMI Records
Mute
Producer Anthony Gonzalez, Ewan Pearson, Ken Thomas
M83 chronology
Digital Shades Vol. 1
(2007)
Saturdays = Youth
(2008)
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
(2011)
Singles from Saturdays = Youth
  1. "Couleurs"
    Released: 25 February 2008 (2008-02-25)
  2. "Graveyard Girl"
    Released: 28 April 2008 (2008-04-28)
  3. "Kim & Jessie"
    Released: 21 July 2008 (2008-07-21)
  4. "We Own the Sky"
    Released: 1 December 2008 (2008-12-01)

Saturdays = Youth is the fifth studio album by French electronic band M83, first released on 11 April 2008. The album was produced by Ken Thomas, known for his work with Sigur Rós, The Sugarcubes, Cocteau Twins, and Suede, with co-production by Ewan Pearson (who has also produced for Tracey Thorn, The Rapture, and Ladytron) and M83 leader Anthony Gonzalez.

The album yielded four singles: "Couleurs" in February 2008, "Graveyard Girl" in April, "Kim & Jessie" in July and "We Own the Sky" in December. "Kim & Jessie" was placed at number 256 on Pitchfork Media's list of The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s in August 2009.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 70/100[2]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]
The A.V. Club A[4]
Drowned in Sound 7/10[5]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[6]
musicOMH 3/5 stars[7]
Now 3/5[8]
Pitchfork Media 8.5/10[9]
PopMatters 6/10[10]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[11]
Spin 5/10[12]

Saturdays = Youth was met with positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 70, based on 29 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[2] Andy Battaglia wrote for The A.V. Club that Saturdays=Youth "boasts a more expansive sense of space" than the band's previous albums, and that it "serves in terms of songs as much as sound design: For all the awe kindled by the effectively perfect sound in a transcendent highlight like 'Kim & Jessie,' the real triumph is that M83 uses such a setting for more simple melody and emotion than ever before."[4] Dave Hughes of Slant Magazine gave the album four out of five stars, stating that "[a]lthough many songs still build toward walls of synth that flirt with white noise, the trademark crescendos are both leavened and deepened by being recast as textural objects and woven into lyrical pop songs." He also opined that "though analog synthesizer remains definitional of the M83's sound, they open the arrangements to include more naturalistic instrumentation as well. The approach allows this band named for a galaxy to seem more grounded, and yet more universal, than ever before."[11] Brian Howe of Pitchfork Media noted that Saturdays=Youth's songs "disperse in all directions: Producers Ewan Pearson and Ken Thomas spread the melodies and beats into a sound world of uncommon vibrancy and pristine clarity, mounted on a massive yet now more proportionate scale", adding that the album "meaningfully diversifies M83's catalog while retaining Gonzalez's indelible fingerprint."[9] Drowned in Sound's Alex Denney commented that "Gonzales has taken a dive head-first into the lexicon of '80s pop culture and emerged with a clutch of winning tracks that borrow openly from any number of pin-ups of the era and glaze them in his breathy, expansive shoegaze sound his to generally winning effect." He continued, "Predictably there's a slide towards more abstracted material toward the latter half, and parts of Saturdays=Youth are all hairspray and no body, but the whole thing sweeps along with such an irrepressible mix of youthful invincibility [...] and flouncing fatalism [...] it sucks the wind right out of your cheeks before you've had chance to huff."[5] Allmusic reviewer Heather Phares gave the album four out of five stars and concluded, "As super-stylized as its sounds and emotions are, Saturdays=Youth always seems genuine, even when it feels like its songs are made from the memories of other songs. For all of its nostalgic haze, it's some of M83's most focused music."[3]

The album also received some mixed reviews. Dorian Lynskey, writing for The Guardian, gave the album three out of five stars and expressed that "[t]o call Saturdays=Youth derivative is to pay it a compliment, because every retro synth sounds calibrated to provide the maximum nostalgic rush—if not for your own adolescence, then at least for that of a poetic outcast in a John Hughes film", but noted that "[i]t's a shame the songwriting evaporates in a haze of rote shoe-gazing and ambient murmurs halfway through."[6] Dan Raper of PopMatters felt that "it is a little disappointing that the point of Saturdays=Youth kind of misses the point. The more conventional 'song'-like material does have something of M83's stately grandeur but feels somewhat hollow, probably because the slow-burn's integral to the act's power." He nevertheless commented that "there are [still] plenty of moments on the disc that remind you why this pulsing, layered music is so powerful."[10] Benjamin Boles of Canadian magazine Now believed that album is "more derivative and familiar than Anthony Gonzalez's past work as M83, which means it's more accessible but also less innovative and original. All the dreamy, ethereal glitter drowns the songs; the ­album overall is mostly about texture and nostalgia", while stating that "[s]urprisingly, the least pop-based tracks stand out most."[8] Spin's Mosi Reeves was unimpressed, writing that "[o]nly a few compelling songs, particularly the lush darkwave instrumental 'Couleurs' and the breezy shoegaze rock of 'Graveyard Girl,' emerge from the bathos. M83 needs to step out of the '80s and back into the future."[12] Ben Hogwood of musicOMH rated the album three stars out of five and found that "M83 still show plenty of guile and in their best moments present music of hidden power and grace. But in this record they seem to become too preoccupied with their 80s tribute for that to continually shine through."[7]

Pitchfork Media ranked Saturdays = Youth at number eight on its list of The 50 Best Albums of 2008 and at number 111 on its list of The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s.[13][14] The album was also named the best album of 2008 by Drowned in Sound and Urban Outfitters.[15][16]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "You, Appearing"   Anthony Gonzalez 3:39
2. "Kim & Jessie"   A. Gonzalez, Yann Gonzalez, Morgan Kibby 5:23
3. "Skin of the Night"   A. Gonzalez, Kibby 6:12
4. "Graveyard Girl"   A. Gonzalez, Y. Gonzalez 4:51
5. "Couleurs"   A. Gonzalez 8:34
6. "Up!"   A. Gonzalez, Kibby 4:27
7. "We Own the Sky"   A. Gonzalez, Y. Gonzalez 5:02
8. "Highway of Endless Dreams"   A. Gonzalez, Y. Gonzalez 4:35
9. "Too Late"   A. Gonzalez, Kibby 5:00
10. "Dark Moves of Love"   A. Gonzalez, Y. Gonzalez 3:18
11. "Midnight Souls Still Remain"   A. Gonzalez 11:10

Personnel[edit]

  • Anthony Gonzalez – vocals, keyboards, bass, guitar, piano, co-producer, mixing, pre-production, art direction
  • Tom Bailey – mixing assistant
  • Anouck Bertin – sleeve photography
  • Roland Brown – management
  • Louise Downer – design
  • Morgan Kibby – vocals, piano, keyboards
  • Richard Matthews – assistant engineer
  • Loïc Maurin – drums, percussion, guitar, bass, keyboards
  • Ewan Pearson – co-producer, additional keyboards, pre-production
  • Paul A. Taylor – art direction assistant
  • Jolyon Thomas – guitar technician
  • Ken Thomas – producer, mixing

Charts[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
position
French Albums Chart[19] 173
US Billboard 200[20] 107
US Top Electronic Albums[20] 4
US Top Heatseekers[20] 1

Release history[edit]

Country Date Label Format
Australia[21] 11 April 2008 EMI CD, digital download
France[22] 14 April 2008 Virgin Records
United Kingdom[23] Mute Records
United States[24] 15 April 2008
Germany[25] 9 May 2008 EMI
United States 9 December 2008 Mute Records LP + CD
Japan[18] 1 July 2009 EMI Music Japan CD, digital download

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s: 500–201". Pitchfork Media. 17 August 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Saturdays=Youth – M83". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Saturdays=Youth – M83". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 15 April 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Battaglia, Andy (14 April 2008). "M83: Saturdays=Youth". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Denney, Alex (23 April 2008). "M83 – Saturdays=Youth". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Lynskey, Dorian (11 April 2008). "M83, Saturdays=Youth". The Guardian. guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 22 February 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Hogwood, Ben. "M83 – Saturdays=Youth (Mute)". musicOMH. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Boles, Benjamin (29 May 2008). "M83 – Saturday = Youth". Now. Now Communications. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Howe, Brian (15 April 2008). "M83: Saturdays=Youth". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 15 April 2008. 
  10. ^ a b Raper, Dan (15 April 2008). "M83: Saturdays=Youth". PopMatters. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Hughes, Dave (14 April 2008). "M83: Saturdays=Youth". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 22 February 2009. 
  12. ^ a b Reeves, Mosi (15 April 2008). "M83, 'Saturdays = Youth' (Mute)". Spin. Spin Media. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2008". Pitchfork Media. 19 December 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  14. ^ "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 150–101". Pitchfork Media. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  15. ^ "Drowned in Sound's 50 albums of 2008". Drowned in Sound. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  16. ^ "Best Music of '08". Urban Outfitters. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  17. ^ "Saturdays = Youth by M83". iTunes Store US. Apple Inc. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  18. ^ a b "M83 / Saturdays = Youth" (in Japanese). EMI Music Japan. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "M83 – Saturdays = Youth" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  20. ^ a b c "Saturdays=Youth – M83". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  21. ^ "Saturdays=youth – M83". JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  22. ^ "Saturdays = youth : M83" (in French). Fnac. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  23. ^ "M83: Saturdays = Youth". HMV. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  24. ^ "M83 – Saturdays=Youth". Mute Records. Archived from the original on 17 November 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  25. ^ "M83 // Saturdays=Youth" (in German). EMI Music Germany. Retrieved 11 November 2011.