Top 100 Albums of the Decade: #53 Air - Talkie Walkie
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#53 Air - Talkie Walkie
Revisiting Air's brilliant 2004 album Talkie Walkie gives me the urge to school every M83 fan. Air has always sited the influences of artists like Burt Bacharach and Brian Wilson before other electronic heavies, whereas M83 reviews almost always note the influence of Air, a credit to both acts that pop melodies are never trumped in favor of an electronic backdrop.
So here we have it, French duo Air's third full length album proper (fourth, though, if you count the Virgin Suicides Soundtrack). The album is more like Moon Safari than 10,000Hz Legend, which sees Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel creating dreamy soundscapes and sexy lounge melodies that have a very classic feel to them, a nod to Gainsbourg as well as Bacharach. The album is full of early classic Air tracks, which seemed to be deliberately missing from 2001's 10,000Hz Legend. It comes as no surprise that Talkie Walkie was recorded in Paris, as tracks like "Venus", "Run", and "Cherry Blossom Girl" scream for late night walks in a major metropolitan European (or even Japanese) city. The record was completed in Los Angeles by Radiohead and Beck collaborator, Nigel Godrich, and while Air normally has many guest vocalists performing on their songs, such as Jason Falkner, Beck or Gordon Tracks, Godin and Dunckel scraped the usual guests in favor of performing all the vocals themselves, with Dunckel handling the majority of the singing. It pays off as the album as a very intimate feel not captured on any of their previous albums, especially on tracks like "Another Day", "Alone in Kyoto" and previously mentioned "Venus".
For all M83 fans, Talkie Walkie should be required listening, a definite high point not only in Air's catalog, but in a catalog full of all electro-indie artists in which Air could be the Godfathers.
- Nicole Coxe
Check back tomorrow for the next album! To see the full list of the Top 100 Albums of the Decade, click here.