Midnight City

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"Midnight City"
Midnight city.jpeg
Single by M83
from the album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Released16 August 2011 (2011-08-16)
Format
Recorded2010–11
Genre
Length4:03
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
M83 singles chronology
"Black Hole"
(2010)
"Midnight City"
(2011)
"Reunion"
(2012)
"Black Hole"
(2010)
"Midnight City"
(2011)
"Reunion"
(2012)
Music video
"Midnight City" (Official) on Vimeo

"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 (2011). 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.[3] 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; it peaked at number thirty-four on the UK Singles Chart.[4]

Recording and release[edit]

Gonzalez's observations of Downtown Los Angeles at night helped inspire "Midnight City"'s lyrics.[5] Gonzalez created the song's opening riffs by heavily distorting his own voice.[6] The song ends on a saxophone solo played by Fitz and The Tantrums' James King.[7] 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."[8]

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, mystery, 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."[9]

The song premiered online on 19 July 2011 as a MP3 download,[10][11] and was officially released on 16 August 2011.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

"Midnight City" received universal acclaim, and was hailed as one of the best songs of 2011. 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".[13] 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."[14] 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.'"[15][16]

The track was ranked fifth on Triple J's Hottest 100 listing for 2011.[17]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Pitchfork Media US Top 100 Tracks of 2011[13] 2011 1
Paste US 50 Best Songs of 2011[15] 2011 2
PopMatters US 75 Best Songs of 2011[14] 2011 1
Spin US 20 Best Songs of 2011[16] 2011 12
Triple J Australia Hottest 100[17] 2011 5
The Village Voice US Pazz & Jop Pazz & Jop's critics' poll of 2011 4[citation needed]

Music video[edit]

A music video for "Midnight City", directed by Fleur & Manu, was released on 17 October 2011.[18] The video features telekinetic children who escape a federal facility and test their powers in an abandoned factory.[19] The video is the first part of a trilogy which continues in the video for "Reunion" and is concluded in the video for "Wait".

According to M83, the video is a tribute to Akira, Village of the Damned, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.[18]

The orphanage from which the children escape was filmed at the Orphelinat Saint-Philippe in Meudon.

The warehouse where they try their power is the Hangar Y, also in Meudon.

The final scene where the children combine their powers to make the sun set 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.[20] In December 2011, the song was performed live on Last Call with Carson Daly.[21]

"Midnight City" has appeared in several commercials, TV shows, games and movies 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.[20][22][23] 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."[8] It was also featured in the final scene and closing credits of the HBO television series How to Make It in America.[24] The song was used in the feature films Young & Beautiful (2013),[25] Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012)[26] and Warm Bodies (2013).[27] In 2013 the song was used in the first-season finale of The Mindy Project.[28] The song is featured in the pilot of Beauty & the Beast.[29] The song was also used in the soundtrack of Dutch TV movie 'Boys' (2014) and came out briefly in the movie 22 Jump Street. In late 2012, the song was used in the seventh generation Nissan Sentra and the popular Disney Channel sitcom Liv and Maddie premiered on September 15, 2013. In 2014, the song was used on Non Stop Pop FM in the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and PC update of Grand Theft Auto V, as well as featured on the soundtrack of the film Beyond the Lights and the game GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience.

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.[30] 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.[31] ESPN used the song in its trailer for the second season of 30 for 30.[32] 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.[3]

The song was used in 2016 in the Emmy-winning episode of Black Mirror, "San Junipero".

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.[33][34]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleLength
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:[35]

No.TitleLength
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. ^ Fink, Matt (19 August 2016). "M83 - The Under the Radar Cover Story". Under the Radar. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Lang, Nico (23 March 2012). "Why We Should Make M83's "Midnight City" the #1 Song in America". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Chart Profile > M83 > Midnight City". Chart Stats. 2012-01-20.
  5. ^ M83 interview - Anthony Gonzalez (part 5). YouTube. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  6. ^ Dombal, Ryan (2 October 2011). "Interviews: M83". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  7. ^ Siese, April. Doin’ That Voodoo With Fitz And The Tantrums. Antiquiet.com. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  8. ^ a b Richards, Sam. M83's Anthony Gonzalez is ready for the fast lane. The Guardian. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  9. ^ Features - M83's - Anthony Gonzalez Archived 13 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. Urban Outfitters. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
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  14. ^ a b The 75 Best Songs of 2011. PopMatters. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
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  20. ^ a b Hogan, Marc. M83 Visit Saxy 'Midnight City' on 'Fallon'. Spin. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
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  26. ^ Hewett, Chris (5 July 2012). "'Katy Perry: Part of Me' review: Don't like Katy Perry? Just wait". twincities.com. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
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  32. ^ 30 For 30 Volume 2 Trailer. ESPN. 13 May 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ Valerio, Ivan. Le FN a-t-il pillé les droits du groupe électro M83?. Europe 1. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  35. ^ Midnight City (Remixes) - EP. iTunes Store. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
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  38. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – M83 – Midnight City" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 6 October 2014. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Wallonia" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  39. ^ "Lescharts.com – M83 – Midnight City" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  40. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  41. ^ "Swisscharts.com – M83 – Midnight City". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
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  51. ^ "RAPPORTS ANNUELS 2012: Dance". Ultratop (FR) (in French). Retrieved 6 October 2014.
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  53. ^ "Best of 2012 - Rock Songs 11-20". Billboard.com. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  54. ^ "Danish single certifications – M83 – Midnight City". IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  55. ^ "French single certifications – M83 – Midnight City" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  56. ^ "Palmarès 2012 des certifications UPFI". UPFI. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  57. ^ "Italian single certifications – M83 – Midnight City" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana.
  58. ^ "British single certifications – M83 – Midnight City". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Midnight City in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  59. ^ "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. 
  60. ^ Paul Grein (12 June 2013). "Week Ending June 9, 2013. Songs: Pretty Fly For A White Guy". Chart Watch. Yahoo Music.

External links[edit]