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Daft Punk Album Review (May 2013)

Daft Punk. We all know them. Or at least, we all know about them. And if we didn’t before Random Access Memories was released, we most definitely do now. 5 years is a long time. In today’s future world, at the pace we’re going, it’s even longer. It’s a lot of


Daft
Punk. We all know them. Or at least, we all know about them.
And if we didn’t before Random Access Memories was released, we
most definitely do now.

5
years is a long time. In today’s future world, at the pace we’re
going, it’s even longer. It’s a lot of time for someone to learn
about themselves. RAM doesn’t even feel like we’re even listening
to that kind of growth. Maybe that’s why there’s so much
backlash. Not about sounding different, but emotionally, maybe the
collective fan base expected some sort of growth or at least some
novelty.


What
we all received was something more than that. We got something super
personal from people who, for so many years, decided to remain
semi-anonymous. And maybe that’s all we should have expected. I
keep saying we as if I had any idea what they were working on.
Honestly, I hadn’t really thought about them in a long time. 5
years is a really long time.



RAM
opens with a crash that instantly puts you front and center at a rock
concert. A legit rock concert. The funky rhythm guitars, and full
warm bassline that follow lock on to your whole nervous system and
make you want to smile. This is Give Life Back To Music, the
first track on the album. It sets the tone for what would overall end
up sounding like really fun dance music. Oh, no, it doesn’t at all
sound like what passes for today’s “dance” music. It sounds
even better than that.


Disco
is the name of the game. The first three tracks sound like disco had
a party and invited gritty cop shows. Seriously, the vibraphones, the
rhodes keys, the silky smooth bass. It’s so funky, yet so chilled
out, that you sort of can’t stop listening. It’s not as
electronic as one might as expect from Daft Punk (speaking
generally). (speaking specifically) I hadn’t expected anything or
listened to their earlier material before hand recently. So what I
experienced with those fresh ears was the ridiculously warm tones.
Without caring about the content of the lyrics first, I was hooked by
the production quality.


Giorgio
By Moroder
is produced so well, and not just well, but with a
simple attitude. The simplicity of this particular track, broken up
by two actual Giorgio Moroder anecdotes, is actually where the homage
to the god of synth lies. If you actually go back and listen for it,
the old Moroder classics are all very very simple. By that, I mean:
not complicated. It’s the right elements being twirled about
together in that specific way that makes it a “Moroder”
composition.


Rhodes
seem to be a key element to this album. A great choice, I might add.
With the generous amount of those rhodes keys, you’re allowed to
get into that 70s cop show vibe. With all the emotion that those
chords can inspire. There does seem to be a deliberate attempt to
inject wide swathes of good feelings and emotions. Maybe they really
are… just human after all.



…ugh,
another ‘human after all’ pun?

But
seriously, Within, the track that transitions us from the
wanton fun of the first three tracks, takes us deep down into what
these possibly think on a day to day basis. We can’t ever be sure,
because we don’t know them, but it’s kind of fun to get think
that these robots can get this introspective. It’s got that classic
Daft Punk vocoder vocals mixed with dreamy synths. What makes it a
great track are the harmonies. From track to track, the progressions
of chords and inherent harmonies really activates some sort of
emotional third eye and make you feelthink. I just made that up.
Feelthink. Ha.


The
next five tracks are what I would call the Radio tracks. Any number
of them, from Julian Casablanca’s vocals on Instant Crush,
to Pharell’s vocals on Lose Yourself To Dance and Get
Lucky
, even to Paul Williams’ soft and heartfeltly pseudo
ballad Touch. They seemed designed for that radio airtime.
Touch is very honest and moving, it totally sounds like his
Love Boat theme in the middle. It’s so Paul Williams, even Paul
Williams probably said “jeez, I did it again.”


Beyond
sounds like a Daft Punk train collided with a Michael Mcdonald one. I
can’t not think of his I Keep Forgetting when listening to it. If
you don’t know what song that is, look it up, and then you’ll be
like “ohhh, that one.” Motherboard sounds like they had
just gotten done with a Phillip Glass marathon and then hopped into
the studio. Those staccatos are super sweet. Doin’ It Right
just screams Brian Wilson. They have mentioned loving Brian Wilson in
press stuff for other albums and shows a lot on this track. 


The drums
are lackluster though, I feel like they should have just dropped the
modern electro drums for some sort of other bassy rhythm keeper. They
feel out of place. Contact is a wonderful sound collage that
possibly tells some story about them leaving for/coming back from
space? Not so sure. Either way, it sounds delicious to my ears.
Random
Access Memories. I get it. It’s a collection of sounds they liked
and loved and learned during any and all phases of their lives. The
presentation is simply from the perspective of worldwide superstars.
Super cool. Super simple.



To
sum it up: this makes me feel as if I were watching a documentary
that was also some sort of dreamy rock concert. It’s about casual
partying, it’s set on the West coast, we’re all dancing along to
edited flashes of bouncy movement; it’s all drenched in that
sunsetty pallette. And everyone’s smilin’.

Give
it a shot.

________

info@newretrowave.com

Founder and CEO of NewRetroWave

Review overview
  • Trey 7th June 2014

    I have been a fan of and listened to Daft Punk since, 1997. In my honest opinion, with their newest album, they've gone backwards. Daft Punk has forgotten their roots; and I'm not talking 70s or 80s. They've forgotten how to make music and what makes them innovative. Sure, all the new kids think Random Access Memories album is great. However, and again, in my honest opinion, RAM is their worst album ever (Discovery is their best work!!!). I expected more from them. Instead they just sound like another genetic electronic (if toy can even still call them that) band you hear at cheap clubs or radio. Maybe they've over sold themselves. Regardless of whatever reason that may be, they need to get back to what made them great over a decade ago.

  • Trey 7th June 2014

    Forgive the typos. I'm on my tablet.

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