M83 are a French electronic/shoegazing band formed in 1999, named after the galaxy of the same name. The main band member is Anthony Gonzalez (composer), and joining him live are Morgan Kibby (who has written and performed on the past two albums), Loïc Maurin (drums), and Jordan Lawlor.
The band's career started in 2001 with a Self-Titled Album that received little attention or praise. Their second album, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, was released in 2003; although it was well-received critically, it stalled commercially for its first year, after which the band was picked up by the indie scene and gained some popularity.
By 2005's Before The Dawn Heals Us, M83 had gained a fanbase, and anticipation was building over the album's release. Though not as critically praised as Dead Cities, it got very positive attention. Their next release, 2008's Saturdays = Youth, was a success, but it would be their following album, 2011's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, that would catapult the band to international fame. The highest-charting M83 album to date, it produced several singles including "Midnight City", which was named the best song of the year by Pitchfork, became a hit on alternative rock radio, and has been used in various media.
M83 is known for their use of experimental sound effects to add to the artistic quality of their albums. Much like how another popular French electronic group was chosen to score TRON: Legacy, they were chosen by director Joseph Kosinski to score Oblivion (2013).
Anthony's brother, Yann Gonzalez, is also a film director. He directed two films, You and the Night in 2013 and Knife+Heart in 2018. M83 provided the original soundtrack for those films.
- M83 (2001)
- Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (2003)
- Before the Dawn Heals Us (2005)
- Digital Shades Vol. 1 (2007)
- Saturdays = Youth (2008)
- Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (2011)
- Junk (2016)
- DSVII (2019)
- Fantasy (2023)
M83 contains examples of the following tropes:
- Break-Up Song: "Walkway Blues" from Junk
- Epic Rocking:"Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun", "Beauties Can Die", and "Midnight Souls Still Remain" all extend past 10 minutes. Although "Midnight Souls" is more of an ambient drone and not really a "rock" song.
- Everything Is an Instrument: The shoegazing edition.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: Used in "Outro" from Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.
- Homage: Saturdays = Youth, from the artwork to the musical style to the music videos, is inspired by 80s Brat Pack era John Hughes movies, supported with Graveyard Girl making a direct reference to Molly Ringwald.
- The Midnight City video seems to be a shoutout to both Village of the Damned (1960) and AKIRA, focusing on psychic children with glowing eyes.
- The Wait video has some shoutout to Princess Mononoke and 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The soundtrack of Knife+Heart draws inspiration from the soundtracks of Giallo films and pornographic films of the 1970s (where the film revolves around).
- "I Am Becoming" Song: "Steve McQueen", wherein the narrator sings about growing stronger than ever.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Road Blaster" is a fun, bouncy song with a saxophone riff in place of a traditional "chorus". So it's easy to not notice that the lyrics say things like, "Evil is God and I’m going straight to Hell".
- Mind over Matter: The music videos for "Midnight City" and "Reunion".
- Self-Deprecation: Naming an album Junk probably counts.
- Shout-Out: "Steve McQueen," after the actor.
- In the video for "Reunion," the GPS in the bad guys' van is mapped to "Adam Yauch Ave." Yauch is better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys.
- Spoken Word in Music: Multiple examples across the albums, telling stories under the music...
- Before The Dawn Heals Us: "Moonchild," the break from "Safe," and "Car Chase Terror"
- Saturdays = Youth: "Graveyard Girl"
- Hurry Up, We're Dreaming: The opening of "Intro," the breaks from "Reunion" and "OK Pal," and the entirety of "Raconte-Moi Une Histoire" (in English) and "Echoes of Mine" (in French).
- Junk has "Bibi the Dog", most of which is spoken in French, some cheerleader-esque chants in "Laser Gun", and the latter half of "For the Kids", which is spoken in English by a young girl.
- Stellar Name: M83 is named after Messier 83, a bright and famous southern galaxy.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Anthony sings lead on comparatively few tracks on Junk. Mai Lan is featured on several, while Jordan Lawlor, Susanne Sundfør, and Beck all get one track each.
- Stylistic Suck: Appropriately for the era of music that inspired Junk, the first half of the instrumental track "The Wizard" is made to sound like it's being played back on a decades-old tape that has suffered significant wear and tear over the years.
- Theme Tune: "Outro" plays during the opening credits of Versailles.
- Toad Licking: Pretty much all there is to "Raconte-Moi Une Histoire" from Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.
- Wanderlust Song: "New Map"
- Welcome to the Big City: "Midnight City" is a subversion; it was inspired by Anthony Gonzalez's admiration of Los Angeles's skyline after spending most of his life in the French countryside.