Track of the Day: 'Midnight City'

Past TracksWhat is that noise? A high-voiced monkey hoot? Some home security alarm pattern, looped? A pitch-shifted basketball-court sneaker squeak? More likely, the product of pure studio synthetics, but still: The strutting, four-note melodic pattern that adorn the first measures and the chorus of M83's "Midnight City" glares like neon--it burns a mark on the senses, and it thrills.

M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez has long summoned near-tangible blocks of heart-swelling sound out of cold keyboards, canned drum sounds, and vocal cheese. On that front, "Midnight City" is both rote and stunning. But it achieves more. By the time a velvety sax solo arrives for the outro, Gonzalez's use of the post-post-post-ironic instrument of the year comes across as only the second most brazen thing about the song. No. 1, of course, being that damn noise.

Midnight City by M83

On iTunes: Not available yet, but you can download the track for free by providing an email address at M83's website.

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Spencer Kornhaber is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers pop culture and music. He was previously an editor of Patch.com and a staff writer at OC Weekly. He has written for Spin, The AV Club, and RollingStone.com.

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