For those who love disco and the notion of a synthesized voice uttering emo lyrics, the day of May 21 was definitely flagged, because today, the biggest name in electronic dance music is releasing a brand new album. Random Access Memories is Daft Punk’s fourth studio album and is now available for purchase in all music retailers, to the bliss and ecstasy of all their fans, who have been expecting new material since 2005.
Unfortunately for the fans who eagerly waited all these years for a new Discovery, the album may very well disappoint them. The truth is that Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, the two Parisian human robots whose filtered French house crossed over from clubs to charts more than a decade ago with their debut album, Homework, drifted from their original work. Random Access Memories is not as revolutionary as most of you expected; it’s rather infused with nostalgia for an era that is long gone. Besides, fans were used to see and listen the duo perform behind those robot helmets as if their music was created by heartless androids and not by humans. On this new album, Daft Punk performs as two human beings filled with emotions and all sorts of feelings, who just happen to wear those shiny, metallic masks.
The album kicks off with “Give Life Back To Music”, a track that injects the vibe of the ’70s and the party kicks of electronic music into the veins of Random Access Memories. It’s like the duo shouts ‘hey, we’re back!’ before making use of sleek guitar riffs and big drums on “The Game of Love”, an entertaining and alluring track that is not as deprived of humanity as we might have expected. “Giorgio by Moroder” is next. It’s a track that feels like two songs into one, as it is very long and a little boring. In fact, it’s a tribute Daft Punk paid to Italian dance king Giorgio Moroder and his various music experiences.
Furthermore, “Within” is robotically interesting, sounding more like a ballad performed by androids that have a thing for disco music, while “Instant Crush” will make your body crush. The latter is the outcome of a fruitful collaboration with the Strokes’ frontman, Julian Casablancas, who puts some humanity in the words and makes the track slide towards rock. It’s an innovative and experimental song that mixes rock with electronica and disco without being too propulsive.
The list of collaborations goes on with “Lose Yourself To Dance” feat. Pharrell Williams, track that seems to have been pulled out from the duo’s heyday, “Touch” featuring legendary singer-songwriter Paul Williams and the already famous “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams, track that marks Daft Punk’s radio return. “Fragments of Time” featuring Todd Edwards evoke nostalgia for the sounds of the ’80s, though the synthesizers are still there, trying to induce a sense of modernism and self-evolution. “Doin’ It Right” features Animal Collective’s Panda Bear, who provides contrast to the mechanics of the Daft Punk vocals.
Therefore, despite all the efforts of creating an emotionless record, Daft Punk has created exactly the opposite. Rest aside the oddities and Random Access Memories is an intriguing, alive collection of tracks that will fill your heart with the spirit of music and will embark you on a sci-fi journey to another world.
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories Album Cover
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories Track Listing
1. “Give Life Back to Music” - 4:34
2. “The Game of Love” - 5:21
3. “Giorgio by Moroder” - 9:04
4. “Within” - 3:48
5. “Instant Crush” (featuring Julian Casablancas) - 5:37
6. “Lose Yourself to Dance” (featuring Pharrell Williams) - 5:53
7. “Touch” (featuring Paul Williams) - 8:18
8. “Get Lucky” (featuring Pharrell Williams) - 6:07
9. “Beyond” - 4:50
10. “Motherboard” - 5:41
11. “Fragments of Time” (featuring Todd Edwards) - 4:39
12. “Doin’ It Right” (featuring Panda Bear) - 4:11
13. “Contact” - 6:21
Japan bonus track
14. “Horizon” - 4:24
Released May 17, 2013
Recorded 2008-12; Paris (Gang Recording Studio), New York City (Electric Lady Studios), Los Angeles (Henson Recording Studios, Capitol Studios, Conway Recording Studios)
Genre Disco, electronic, funk
Label Daft Life, Columbia
Producer Thomas Bangalter, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo