Daft Punk / Random Access Memories

It’s only the 22nd of May and I already know what my song of the year is. It’s ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk. As soon as this song was released, I was hooked. With catchy pop lyrics and an even catchier 80’s beat, what’s not to love about it?! Not only did it become my song of 2013 but it also whet my appetite for the next Daft Punk album seeing as they hadn’t released anything since they scored the Tron Legacy film in 2010; something which really isn’t my thing so I sadly didn’t take much notice of this era of Daft Punk. It’s now finally here, after a long eight years wait, the brand new album from the French electro duo! Random Access Memories.

‘Give Life Back To Music’ is quite a bold statement to make. I know Daft Punk aren’t necessarily saying that’s what this album is going to do but as an opener…they’re making a bloody good attempt at doing so. This first track gives us a glimpse of what to expect from the album as a whole. It’s funky, catchy and really well produced. During my first listen, I was already contemplating what I’ll be getting up to this summer. It would work perfectly as anyone’s montage soundtrack for summer 2013. Track 2, ‘Game of Love’ takes the tempo down a little. This gives the ability to showcase the duo’s writing capabilities. It’s essentially an electronic love ballad and if you listen to the words, you can easily envisage the lyrics coming from one of your dad’s favourite bands in the 80’s, albeit a little less electro and more guitar/hair/testosterone.

‘Giorgio by Moroder’ is a beautiful track. Beginning with a small interview with iconic Italian producer, Giorgio Moroder; you can’t help but hang on to every word of this incredibly talented gentleman. A couple of minutes in and we’re treated to a phenomenal few minutes of perfect electro music. I challenge anyone to not move at least one part of their body during this track. After this, ‘Within’ follows. This is the only track on the album that I’m still not 100% about. It’s not rubbish but at the same time, it’s not…”Daft Punk-y” enough for me. I guess every album needs a filler though right?

‘Instant Crush’ became more of an instant favourite to me. Daft Punk featuring Julian Casablancas. What could possibly go wrong? Turns out, nothing can go wrong. An instantly noticeable beat from Daft Punk and the iconic voice of The Strokes frontman blend perfectly together. Comedown Machine is rumoured to be The Strokes last album. I don’t think it should be. Here’s a little note to Julian:

Dear Mr.Casablancas,

I’ve heard some words on the street. These words seem to indicate that Comedown Machine is going to be your last album as The Strokes. Are you an idiot? Isn’t it obvious that you could be the indie band to FINALLY master how to do indie-electro? Your collaboration with Daft Punk should be enough evidence alone.

Cheers.

‘Lose Yourself To Dance’. Not only the title to the next track but also a premonition of what you’ll be doing when listening to this. The first song on the album to feature Pharrell Williams (he also features on ‘Get Lucky’) makes you want to get up and well…lose yourself to dance! With a beat and lyrics that Michael Jackson would come up with if he was still around, there’s no doubt in my mind that this will be another big summer tune. Not content with having one Williams on the album, Daft Punk managed to get Paul Williams to write a couple of tracks with them but also feature on next track, ‘Touch’. If you don’t know who Paul Willams is, look him up, you’ll more than likely be familiar with some of his work. He even featured as an animated version of himself in Dexter’s Laboratory! The lyrics on this song are beautiful, meaningful and work well on top of this synth-heavy track. After you’ve read this and listened to the album…go check out more of Paul William’s work!

So, that ‘Get Lucky’ song that EVERYONE is listening to/talking about/dancing to/obsessing about, it’s the 8th track on this already brilliant album. Not only is it my favourite song of 2013, it remains one of my favourites of the album. Currently number 1 in the Top 40 charts for the third week in a row, it seems Daft Punk finally realised what they had to do to get everyone to enjoy their music. The ingredients for such a brilliant song: an insanely catchy beat + vocals from Pharrell Williams. Some songs, you can play to a crowd twice in a night and they’ll love it both times. Mojo20 were present at Above Below when Aron Breen played it not once, not twice, not three times but FOUR times. Did we dance and sing to it each time? Of course we bloody did. We were up all night to get drunk.

Next track, ‘Beyond’ is another slow-paced track where we again get to concentrate more on the lyrics than the music itself. Granted, the lyrics are very robotesque but you can still take something from then if you listen hard enough. Track 10, ‘Motherboard’ is another fully instrumental track. I can imagine hearing it on a few movie soundtrack’s in the near future due to its soft melody which somehow still seems to make a powerful, bold sound. Despite this, it remains a really peaceful song, a more relaxing side to Daft Punk’s talents is clearly demonstrated throughout. Another collaboration track, ‘Fragments of Time’ is up next. Written and vocally supported by Todd Edwards, it’s another excellent track. Picking up the tempo and mood with its catchy rhythm, the ending of the album is shaping up nicely. Penultimate track, ‘Doin’ It Right’ is another one of my favourite track’s off the album. “Everybody will be dancin’ and be doin’ it right” is the main lyric throughout by the final collaborative artist; Panda Bear. If there’s one thing you can take from not only this track but the album as a right, Daft Punk are DEFINITELY “doin’ it right”.

The final song is absolutely brilliant. The duo asked NASA for a transcript to use at the beginning. They obliged and provided the following piece of audio from the Apollo 17 mission:

Daft Punk actually asked for a transcript to use at the start of the song, so NASA gave them this excerpt from the Apollo 17 mission to the moon in 1972. The person talking in the song is Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17:

“Hey Bob I’m looking at what Jack was talking about and it’s definitely not a particle that’s nearby. It is a bright object and it’s obviously rotating because it’s flashing, it’s way out in the distance, certainly rotating in a very rhythmic fashion because the flashes come around almost on time. As we look back at the earth it’s up at about 11 o’clock, about maybe ten or twelve diame…Earth diameters. I don’t know whether that does you any good, but there’s something out there.”

What follows is one of the best produced piece of music I personally believe Daft Punk have done. It’s loud, fast and definitely Daft Punk-esque. This is obviously a great thing and a powerful finale to such a brilliant return from the French Duo.

Random Access Memories is available now on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/daft-punk-random-access-memories/id632674071?mt=2

https://www.facebook.com/daftpunk?fref=ts

Words by Robert Smith (@robertmsmith)

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