Daft Punk Random Access Memories
This is kind of exciting! Daft Punk’s new album has fans and critics alike totally divided, and the conversations are getting heated in a way I haven’t seen in a long, long time. And conversations like these are what’s needed most in the world of music right now. Most are bemoaning the fact that this new record, Random Access Memories, is quite the departure from the 3 other proper Daft Punk Releases. What these folks were expecting was another thumping, earth shattering, modern dance album that would change the course of the genre…again, as Homework (1997) and Discovery (2001) did back in da day. I say to these haters, “Listen again, ‘cause a ‘thumping, earth shattering, modern dance album that would change the course of the genre’ is exactly what you got!”
Call it club, house, electronica, EDM, disco, soul, funk, WHATEVER…it’s music, people, the kind you can dance to, and nothing more. Actually, it is something more, in this case anyway. It’s really, freakin’ good music! I mean, the songs contained herein are without a doubt some of the best since LCD Soundsystem hit the scene, and it’s fearless. What other group would collaborate with Paul Freakin’ Williams, quite possibly one of the uncoolest dudes on the planet and one that the majority of their fanbase probably didn’t even know exist, and craft a Broadway play based space rock/chill-out anthem and have it work so beautifully (Touch)? And Nile Rogers, while respected, isn’t really a household name anymore when it comes to modern dance music, is he? Ditto Georgio Moroder. And The Strokes frontman, Julian Casablancas’ stock has been going down ever since 2003, and Todd Edwards, as far as I know, hasn’t been seen as really relevant since the late ‘90’s.
Is Daft Punk the Quentin Tarantino of dance music? I think so!
Random Access Memories prevailing sound is based around ‘70’s and early ‘80’s disco and soul, for sure, but the best of those genres was groundbreaking, fun and (obviously) has aged very well. Here the best of that is molded into something new and exciting and very, very human. Which is the overall theme for the album, so much so I guess one could almost call it a ‘concept album’. Give Life Back To Music, Lose Yourself To Dance, Contact, Touch…the sci-fi is gone, baby, gone. Daft Punk is earthbound! The vocoders are about the only thing left. Most of the instrumentation, real or synthetic, sounds totally organic and alive. First few listens reveal an album that’s all over the place, even a little self indulgent. Further listens reveal a real rhyme and rhythm to this album (and it IS an ALBUM). It is one of those albums that, cliché or no, reveals its true genius with repeat listening sessions.
I can’t say enough positive things about this record. Album of the year. Done and dusted.