Everyone’s home has a junk drawer – a drawer full of miscellaneous objects that never accumulated enough importance to deserve a sole drawer. M83’s 2016 album lovingly entitled “Junk” is the group’s musical equivalent to the household junk drawer. Containing a mix of varying styles, moods and instrumentations, “Junk” is a stockpile of artistic finds. Upholding M83’s electronic, emotional style and sound, “Junk” reminds listeners of what M83 is known for while presenting a mixtape of new songs.
Starting off with their most played song from the album, “Do It, Try It” sets the bar high for the rest of the album. The album follows an overarching theme of 80’s style and undertone while adding in modern electronic style and instrumentations. “Do It, Try It” introduces the 80’s theme for the album which can bring in a very specific audience of listeners. If 80’s theme is something to catch a listener’s attention, “Junk” does a spectacularly creative way of doing just that. Songs like “Do It, Try It” can easily be named the outcast of the album, though. Vocals and lyrical sounds are not what set this album apart. Maybe half the album utilizes lyrical, vocal performance – moreso depending on electronic instrumentation and occasionally wind instruments to guide the way for the creative path of the album. Their song “For The Kids” includes not only 80’s electronic instrumentation, it also includes a sore thumb of a saxophone, which brings the song (and album) back down to earth.
The lyrical songs of the album including “Do It, Try It”, “Laser Gun”, and “Atlantique Sud” still do not adhere to listener’s expectation. Besides being a heavily 80’s inspired album, “Junk” also dabbles in French electronic style. “Atlantique Sud” is a lyrical song, but all in French. Coming from the high point of electronic energy in the two similar songs “Do It, Try It” and “Laser Gun”, “Atlantique Sud” is like floating on a cloud. The song itself is actually extremely depressing, a couple is drifting apart and moving on seems impossible. By using the beauty of the French language, that depressing message might be pushed aside. Getting past the saddening lyrics, the artistry used to craft such a beautifully emotional song advertises M83’s diverse talent.
Much like a junk drawer, “Junk” moves past the French electronic style and goes back to it’s 80’s roots in “Walkway Blues”, sounding exactly like the interlude included in an 80’s video game. The album presents such a flip flopping of styles and ideas. This could be taken negatively, that an album can’t stick to just one style, but “Junk” is arranged in such a way that each turn makes sense and opens the door to wide interpretation on a listener’s behalf.
There is a reason for a junk drawer. The items included are important enough to be kept for whatever reason, although they might not fit in a different category. Picking an “at first moment” derogatory title for their album “Junk”, M83 proves that their 2016 is far from what junk truly is. Mixing together songs of different styles and themes and somehow making them so effortlessly related makes “Junk” not only an exploration of M83’s artistic abilities, but also a lasting impression on what it means to be daring and unique in the music industry. M83’s “Junk” focuses the light on the individuality of a song alone rather than as an album overall, while still crafting an outstandingly different musical experience.
Highlights of the album:
“For the Kids”
“Do It, Try It” (David Wilson Video) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nP6lXODTNX8
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