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Random Access Memories

Daft Punk

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Album Review

When Daft Punk announced they were releasing a new album eight years after 2005's Human After All, fans were starved for new material. The Tron: Legacy score indulged the seminal dance duo's sci-fi fantasies but didn't offer much in the way of catchy songs, so when Random Access Memories' extensive publicity campaign featured tantalizing clips of a new single, "Get Lucky," their fan base exploded. But when the album finally arrived, that hugely hyped single was buried far down its track list, emphasizing that most of these songs are very much not like "Get Lucky" — or a lot of the pair's previous music, at least on the surface. The album isn't much like 2010s EDM, either. Instead, Daft Punk separate themselves from most contemporary electronic music and how it's made, enlisting some of their biggest influences to help them get the sounds they needed without samples. On Homework's "Teachers," they reverently name-checked a massive list of musicians and producers; here, they place themselves on equal footing with disco masterminds Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rodgers, referring to them as "collaborators." That could be self-aggrandizing, yet it's also strangely humble when they take a back seat to their co-stars, especially on one of RAM's definitive moments, "Giorgio by Moroder," where the producer shares his thoughts on making music with wild guitar and synth solos trailing behind him. Elsewhere, Daft Punk nod to their symbiotic relationship with indie on the lovely "Doin' It Right," which makes the most of Panda Bear's boyish vocals, and on the Julian Casablancas cameo "Instant Crush," which is only slightly more electronic than the Strokes' Comedown Machine. And of course, Pharrell Williams is the avatar of their dancefloor mastery on the sweaty disco of "Lose Yourself to Dance" as well as "Get Lucky," which is so suave that it couldn't help but be an instant classic, albeit a somewhat nostalgic one. Indeed, "memories" is the album's keyword: Daft Punk celebrate the late '70s and early '80s with lavish homages like "Give Life Back to Music" — one of several terrific showcases for Rodgers — and the spot-on soft rock of the Todd Edwards collaboration "Fragments of Time." More importantly, Random Access Memories taps into the wonder and excitement in that era's music. A particularly brilliant example is "Touch," where singer/songwriter Paul Williams conflates his work in Phantom of the Paradise and The Muppet Movie in the song's mystique, charm, and fragile yet unabashed emotions. Often, there's an almost gooey quality to the album; Daft Punk have never shied away from "uncool" influences or sentimentality, and both are on full display here. At first, it's hard to know what to make of all the fromage, but Random Access Memories reveals itself as the kind of grand, album rock statement that listeners of the '70s and '80s would have spent weeks or months dissecting and absorbing — the ambition of Steely Dan, Alan Parsons, and Pink Floyd are as vital to the album as any of the duo's collaborators. For the casual Daft Punk fan, this album might be harder to love than "Get Lucky" hinted; it might be too nostalgic, too overblown, a shirking of the group's duty to rescue dance music from the Young Turks who cropped up in their absence. But Random Access Memories is also Daft Punk's most personal work, and richly rewarding for listeners willing to spend time with it.

Customer Reviews

Album of the Year!

For those who haven't heard the album stream yet, I fully recommend it. Now, here's MY OPINION about this album, so please refrain from any destructive criticism.

1. Give Life Back To Music
The buildup for this track is breathtaking, and as soon as the funky riffs of the legendary Nile Rodgers kick in, it's something to truly enjoy. The vocals mesh perfectly with the track. Wonderful way to start the album, and one of the best of the album.

2. The Game of Love
Bordering between a sensual yet sorrowful track, the groove in this album is incredible, and the vocals truly portray Daft Punk's intent for that human touch. And is it just me, or are there some elements (bass) similar to Something About Us?

3. Giorgio by Moroder
I think I managed to hear some extremely subtle differences between the three microphones used in Giorgio's narration, and it truly is magical about how it drives. Also, the click track pause when Moroder says "but everybody calls me Giorgio" truly makes your heart skip a beat before the synths kick in, and the sounds of the future he speaks of are insane. This is no doubt a great song to dance to! One of the best songs of the whole album, without a doubt.

4. Within
This is certainly an interesting track. as the chord shift at the beginning of the piano intro truly sets a more somber mood after the driving Moroder masterpiece. The subject of this song also brings out that human touch in the vocals. Nice ambience as well.

5. Instant Crush (feat. Julian Casablancas)
This is a new twist on Casablancas' voice, but I can't help but like it. The chorus is definitely what makes this track beautiful. You truly feel this track, and it would have been a nice single.

6. Lose Yourself to Dance (feat. Pharrell Williams)
I was somewhat disappointed when I found out that the alleged 15-second ad teasing this track was not for this song (real song is Yellowire - Tonight Is The Night). However, this is no doubt a highlight track. Pharrell's vocals are absolutely perfect for this track, and Nile Rodgers never ceases to work his magic on this record. The vocoders are a wonderful accompaniment for this song. It just makes you want to dance! Truly could be the track of the summer, and this would be the best option for another single.

7. Touch (feat. Paul Williams)
The opening on this track could be seen as a nice one, but I could see how some could get bored of the first few minutes of it. However, Williams' voice truly is serene in this track, and as it progresses, it makes you want to get up and dance. The vocoder and choir verse is truly magical, harmonic with the sweet notes of the piano. This song is definitely one of the most experimental ones, and definitely one of the most interesting, as the many different smaller tracks make this a standout song.

8. Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams)
I love this song. The bass and Nile's riffs make this such a smooth groove, and the album version is so much more incredible than the radio edit, in my opinion. Hard to get tired of this song.

9. Beyond
Paul Williams' lyrical genius blossoms once again in this track, and the repetitive guitar riff drives this track forward. Really calm, chilled-out groove.

10. Motherboard
You can hear so many rhythms similar to the TRON soundtrack, but so much differently. The ambience in this track has a nice feel to it, and it does bring forth a breathtaking, future-type melody.

11. Fragments of Time (feat. Todd Edwards)
Welcome back, Todd Edwards. This truly does make me think of cruising by the sunset and seeing the California palm trees. It might not be a Face to Face, but it's a nice, catchy song, nevertheless.

12. Doin' It Right (feat. Panda Bear)
This track is great from the start, as the vocals really do pull you in, and as the percussion kicks in, you can't help but move with the beat. Panda Bear's vocals are great in this song, and the second half of the track has a nice rhythm. Ending is slightly sudden.

13. Contact
What a phenomenal closer. Daft Punk and DJ Falcon chose great samples for this track, and if you don't get chills during this song ... try again. I feel like some of the elements from Rollin' & Scratchin' are in this song, and the last few minutes of this track are intense. Once again, great closer!

One complaint is that I would have liked to have the bonus track (Horizon) available in the U.S.

This album may not be for everyone, as there are few elements that remind us of the Discovery- or Homework-era Daft Punk, but we were warned that it was a departure from that scene. I feel that Daft Punk does a great job of going back to the roots and getting that human touch to dance back. Without the drops. Without the headbangers. Just nice, groovy jams. Album of the year right here. Deserves all five of these stars.

It's not bad, but definitely not good

Lets be honest, while the works are decent, I'd say everyone had far higher expectations for this album. personally, I believe Daft Punk set the bar pretty high with their previous works and RAM does just not live up to what we've come to expect from Thom and Guy-Man. I understand what the ideal was behind this album but i respectfully disagree with it. They sacrificed too much of their own sound when working with the collaborators. I know there will be the hoard who defends their every move to the very end and in saying so, I acknowledge that I am one of their huge fans but if I am honest with myself all i can say is this; while I can appreciate the curveball they've thrown, I would have preferred something else more akin to their previous discography. I believe 99% of people will agree that this is not the masterwork they looked forward to in the anticipation of Random Access Memories.

Daft Punk is Amazing

This is real music. Not mainstream noise. This is not EDM. This is music. This is quality. This is what the world needs right now.

Biography

Formed: 1992 in Paris, France

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Evolving from French house pioneers in the '90s to 2000s tastemakers to mainstream successes in the 2010s, Daft Punk remained one of dance music's most influential and iconic acts. The combined talents of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, the Parisian duo quickly won acclaim for their unique blend of first-wave acid house and techno with pop, indie rock, and hip-hop. One of the pair's first projects together was Darling, an instrumental indie cover band; their current recording name...
Full Bio
Random Access Memories, Daft Punk
View In iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Dance, House, Rock, Electronic, Electronica
  • Released: May 21, 2013

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