THE AVALANCHES Music Makes Me High gets 8.5/10

The Avalanches
Music Makes Me High


Music Makes Me High is a new single from The Avalanches and a tease for their upcoming third album We Will Always Love You, out in December. The Melbourne electronic pioneers had a long sixteen-year hiatus after their world-beating debut album Since I Left You, and after surprising us with their 2016 album, Wildflower, fans were once again left itching for more. As 2020 has rolled in, and provided its own challenges, The Avalanches have just the refreshingly funky pick-me-up that we didn’t realise we needed so badly.

Music Makes Me High follows the classic style of The Avalanches by sampling from multiple genres and songs throughout musical history. This song contains the transformative melodies from both Salty Miller’s song of the same name and The Devoted Souls’ 80s track Keep On (Holding On). What makes this single so delightful is that unlike many artists that sample from other music, The Avalanches have always had the distinct ability to utilise their chosen samples to transform the delivery, and Music Makes Me High is an incredible example of that.

This track takes the funky beats from Keep On (Holding On) and weaves it creatively with Salty Miller’s lyrics, resulting in an instantly visceral response that quite frankly makes one want to dance. The song opens with tumultuous energy and impressively holds this power throughout without feeling stagnated on a beat.

The retro 80s sound is undeniably present but works to frame the lyrics that contain messages of hope in dark times: “Days are dark and sometimes weary/ And we need a place to go/ Don’t you be dismayed and don’t be hurt/ For only the strong survive/ If you show that you are trying/ You put your hands in God’s and you hold on.”

If ever this inherent message was necessary, this year would be it. It’s an enjoyable listen for both its nostalgic and modern qualities, feeling both light-hearted and fun as well as hopeful and poignant.