M83 - Junk
Synthwave / Electro Pop
Over the last 15 years or so, Anthony Gonzalez, under the name M83 (named for the galaxy Messier-83) has risen from obscure shoegaze-inspired electronic artist to a high profile pop auteur, soundtracking the likes of the Tom Cruise-starring Oblivion and releasing increasingly epic space operas. After the career-highpoint Saturdays = Youth, which perfectly meshed the scope and grandeur of his earlier work with a more digestible pop style, Gonzalez’s trademark sound began to buckle under its own weight, culminating in the bloated and forgettable Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. All of which makes Junk, an unassuming record steeped in the chintzy sounds of 80’s television synths, all the more surprising. Taking a step back from the sweeping epic shoegaze he is more known for, Gonzalez crafted a wonderful, relaxing little synth pop album filled with dorky digital pianos, super catchy vocal melodies from the likes of MAI LAN, Jordan Lawlor, and Beck, and a sense of pervading, melancholic hope that suits him perfectly. Fans were taken aback and the stylistic left-turn was divisive. Taken on its own terms, Junk remains a worthy addition to Gonzalez’s resume.