REVIEW: Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
With months of fierce anticipation swelling deep within the dance community it is no surprise that Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories is well on its way to being one of the biggest records of the year.
The French, helmet-clad, techno-humanoid, retro-futurists, have taken it upon themselves to give breath to an otherwise mechanized genre of music. (Quite ironic seeing as these guys present themselves as robots whenever they grace the decks). Nonetheless these purists of the dance music genre have birthed their funk masterpiece as a revival of the 70s and 80s disco-dance fever with timbres, beats, and groove to match their legendary aura.
RAM comes at the perfect time; a time where American culture is embracing the dance culture like never before, and a time where this recyclable, pre-packaged “EDM” culture could use some education from the maestros of the dance-scene. Daft Punk’s album far exceeds an introductory lesson and deep dives into a world explained best by them and them only.
In reference to this era of computer-generated superstar dance musicians, Daft Punk group member, Thomas Bangalter said to Pitchfork, “Technology has made music accessible in a really philosophically interesting way, but when everybody has the ability to make magic, its like there’s no more magic – if the audience can just do it themselves, why are they going to bother?” With rare talent, and rare collaborations, Random Access Memories certainly rings in true magic.
RAM, the groups fourth studio album has been at the forefront of the rumor-wire for months, causing stirs and disturbances with a sheer mention of something new coming from them. But can you really blame the hype? This album is a stark improvement from their easily forgotten Human After All that serves as a salute to the days of old with the technology and mechanisms of today. With collaborations coming from Pharell Williams, Nile Rodgers, Julian Casablancas and Panda Bear, to name a few, this album is packed in with star-studded talent. This 13-track, 80 minute record is a tribute to synthetic music and a reminder to the electronic music community that all is well if it grooves on the dance floor.
This project has been in the works since 2008, and after over 5 years of composition RAM is filled with surprises, innocence, spontaneity, and human connection. For an album that will assuredly ripple throughout the music world in the coming months and years, it is too early in its lifetime to give an accurate review, let time be the judge and take a listen for yourself. Enjoy
See below for a breakdown song-by-song
1. Give Life Back To Music – Daft Punk’s much awaited welcome back gets things started with Nile Rodgers setting the tone for RAM with some serious 70s vibes.
2. The Game of Love – Big drums, lustrous guitar and synthetic vocals.
3. Giorgio by Moroder (legendary Italian dance producer). A story that turns into a heavy track.
4. Within – “There are so many things that I don’t understand,” says the voice of some distant lost robotic A.I. Combine that with some beautiful piano breakdowns.
5. Instant Crush feat. Julian Casablancas – The strokes front man really brings some human spirit to an otherwise robotic album to this point.
6. Lose Yourself To Dance feat. Pharrell Williams – Dance, dance, dance…
7. Touch feat. Paul Williams – Robots vs. humans portrayed through Paul Williams. Interesting to say the least.
8. Get Lucky feat. Pharrell Williams. Their #1 Single. Doesn’t carry the same weight of other DP hits but it is fun and in the end that’s all the duo wanted.
9. Beyond – Trippy and elegant mixture of symbals and guitars.
10. Motherboard – A lot of sounds crammed into one instrumental. Good luck making any peace with this.
11. Fragments of Time feat. Todd Edwards – Synthesizers galore!
12. Doin’ It Right feat. Panda Bear – Animal Collective’s Panda Bear comes in and makes this song stick.
13. Contact – An astronaut’s document of Earth is a massive finale of drums, and synths, and bass, and booms. I guess it is the perfect way to end an album because it just makes you want to start it all over again.