Hey, everybody! It’s been far too long since the last post and there’s good reason for it! Primarily life got in the way but it’s also because we’ve been trying to figure out a way to revamp the site. We want to find ways to bring you guys better content instead of just the same stuff you find on every other pop culture site. We’re still ironing out the details of our new direction but until we’re ready to make a full post on the changes I figured I’d go ahead and do a review for the latest Daft Punk album Random Access Memories.
This is without question my favorite album, not only of the year but of the past five years. Random Access Memories is being called a radical departure for Daft Punk, whose last album Human After All received a relatively mixed reception. In truth, this isn’t a departure so much as it is a return to roots. When I say roots I don’t mean back to their Homework days but rather their formative roots. If you wanted to call Random Access Memories a disco album you could, but you would be throwing out the numerous other influences that form this beautiful album. This album isn’t just a tribute to the dance music that Guy Manuel and Thomas grew up on: it’s the real thing. Nothing about this album feels like homage or like it was “influenced” by 70s and 80s dance music. It is, instead, a sort of missing album as though it was some great classic record that was recorded in that time period and then locked away.
The album’s authenticity is sealed with the presence of artists such as guitar legend Nile Rodgers and Rainbow Connection writer Paul Williams. However this isn’t just a throwback album, or something that is trying to be retro. I consider this as Daft Punk’s sort of “rescue mission” for dance music. In this day and age it’s hard to find dance music that makes you actually want to dance. EDM has always been trend driven but it seems that it is more true now than ever. In a way Daft Punk is pulling a Back to the Future on us. They’re going back to the genre’s roots to build a new future. Their intention is made explicitly clear with the opening track, an explosion called “Give Life Back to Music.”
The decision to use predominantly live music is a genius one on the duo’s part. There’s only one track that actually uses samples, but you hardly notice. This album feels like Daft Punk’s most complete and it would be completely fine to go ahead and consider it as a follow up to what is arguably their masterpiece, Discovery. Tracks like Get Lucky, Lose Yourself to Dance, Instant Crush, and Fragments of Time show off the duo’s ability to write songs with great lyrics. Other tracks like Game of Love and Touch have a heartbreaking quality to them. This is an album that has no problem getting downbeat. The album also dares to do a track that is definitely not traditional with the interview/instrumental piece Giorgio by Moroder which layers an interview with producing legend Giorgio Moroder. That particular track’s interview is pretty cool and is an incredibly interesting bit of storytelling.
So what did I not like about the album? Well, not much, to be honest. If I had to complain about anything it would be that some songs take a minute before finding their footing, especially Touch which opens with a relatively creepy voiceover. I would imagine that there will be plenty of Daft Punk fans who consider this their breakup album with the duo. I heard numerous people say it didn’t sound like Daft Punk to them. Some of the lyrics can be a little bit cheesy by the standards of some, but I like a lot of stuff that people consider cheesy so it didn’t really phase me.
Random Access Memories is arguably Daft Punk’s masterpiece. By removing themselves from the EDM style they helped to create they somehow manage to retain their identity and overall style. The production value is extraordinary and authentic. It never feels like a half-hearted tribute. I only hope that this sparks some interesting new directions in pop music as a whole and brings us into a sorely needed music revolution. Even if it doesn’t, Daft Punk have delivered a fantastic album that highlights an amazing era in pop music while uniting it with some of today’s talent. This is the album of the Summer for some, and the album of the year for me.
I highly recommend that you pick this up and if you haven’t already then you can do so down below!