Daft Punk - Random Access Memories Review
Posted by Bill Wannop on 05.21.2013
Daft Punk's highly-anticipated album Random Access Memories hits stores today! But is the band's tribute to the 1980s era of music worth giving a spin? 411's Bill Wannop checks in with his full review!
Daft Punk returns with their fourth studio album, Random Access Machine. The album was worked on concurrently with the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, however, this album in no way shape or form will be grouped with the current hot electronic dance music that is currently on the charts. What is different about the album is that it pays tribute to the 1980`s era of music with the album being recorded using live instruments and this old school or funk era vibe truly works at both keeping the music fresh while not alienating long-time fans.
1. Give Life Back to Music
2. The Game of Love
3. Giorgio by Moroder
5. Instant Crush (featuring Julian Casablancas)
6. Lose Yourself to Dance (featuring Pharrell Williams)
7. Touch (featuring Paul Williams)
8. Get Lucky (featuring Pharrell Williams)
11. Fragments of Time (featuring Todd Edwards)
12. Doin' It Right (featuring Panda Bear)
The album starts and immediately reiterates that this is not just the formulaic dance music that currently is on the airwaves but that this music is different, with a very vintage disco 70`s sounding vibe. The track is aptly named, “Give Life Back To Music”, and acts both as an introductory track in addition to a synopsis of the whole album. Daft Punk have altered their craft, they have progressed, they have changed, which is a good thing, and you can definitely hear throughout the whole album that the group is truly passionate about their craft and the music they create does have a life of its own.
While the group is trying to push the music forward, they still know how to pay homage to those that came before them, which is evident by “Giorgio by Moroder”, which has Italian dance king, Giorgio Moroder. Giorgio proves an intro talking about how in the 1970’s how he wanted to move music forward from the standard disco-techs and he wanted to create the sound of the future. During the intro by Giorgio, the beat slowly builds until it goes full force, making it one of the best tracks on the album and really explains what Daft Punk is trying to do with Random Access Machine, and that is take encompasses the past, add in new elements and make a blend of music that moves music forward. Giorgio reappears mid track to state, “Once you free your mind about a concept of harmony and of music being correct, you can do whatever you. Nobody told me what to do and there was no preconception of what to do”.
While Daft Punk is more known for the heavy hitting dance tracks, there are also some slower tracks on the album, such as “Game of Love” and “Within”, with the former having an electronic voice singing over a piano, proving again that Daft Punk are not just about the dance club. “Instant Crush” has Julian Casablancas using some voice effects join Daft Punk for an infectious track that has a great baseline, but is not a complete in your face dance track.
Daft Punk manages to get somewhat deep on tracks as well, such as “Touch”, which is dedicated to the sense of touch and which runs over 8 minutes, but keeps the listener interested by slowly building before letting an barbershop type piano tune and horn give the track life. Panda Bear joins the group on “Doin’ It Right” which has the lyrics of ‘Doing it right, everybody will be dancing’ in a robotic voice, which is a very simple track, yet it is catchy and it works creating a dance type atmosphere, before the albums final cut, “Contact” which is a perfect way to end the album. The track starts off with an astronaut giving an intro from space, before the beat starts to slowly build. This track feels like it could be the music during the ride Space Mountain at Disneyland, and the way the track changes pace, rises and falls truly making it an intergalactic roller coaster ride before it reaches its explosive conclusion. These tracks really shoe the artistry at work on this album. That is something that needs repeating in that Daft Punk are artists and they fully display their artistry throughout the project. So many times it seems that art is lost in music with groups just trying to make the next greatest song with the art getting lost along the way. That is not the case with this project as no song is greater than the whole project and each track has its place on the album. Daft Punk after over 15 years in the music industry and selling over 1 million albums, they are still artists at heart and that is ever so apparent on this album.
That is not to say that the album is perfect. While no track is terrible, there are certain tracks that are just not as good as the others. By now everyone has heard the track “Get Lucky” which features Pharrell Williams, which is a great track, however listener hoping for a similar type of experience on their other collaboration, “Lose Yourself to Dance” will be disappointed. A long instrumental intro finds Pharrell singing over a throwback to a 70’s or 80s beat, but is not quite as infectious as their big hit collaboration, “Get Lucky”. “Fragments” is another laid back track didn’t really fit on the album as it feels as though it could have been a 80’s theme song to a show.
The hits are plenty and the misses are few and far between as Daft Punk drops what has to be one of the top albums of the year. Daft Punk manages to push the boundaries of their sound, while not alienating their core fans, something that is hard to do. Daft Punk experiments on this album and most of it seems to work, proving that artistry is still alive in music.
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The 411: The hits are plenty and the misses are few and far between as Daft Punk drops what has to be one of the top albums of the year. Daft Punk manages to push the boundaries of their sound, while not alienating their core fans, something that is hard to do. Daft Punk experiments on this album and most of it seems to work, proving that artistry is still alive in music.