Does the New Daft Punk Live Up to the Hype?

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Among a formidable group of highly-anticipated albums from big names like Justin Timberlake, Kanye West and Vampire Weekend, Daft Punk managed to make a big splash with the release of their new album, Random Access Memories. When their first single, “Get Lucky” was released in April, they received a very positive response from fans and music critics. However, the single doesn’t bear the same EDM influence as past hits, such as  “Homework” (1997) and “Discovery” (2001).

The Daft Punk that we are accustomed to features dance music with strong and energetic beats, the kind of songs you hear in clubs. “Get Lucky,” however, features soft-rock guitar riffs and a disco vibe, creating a very catchy and smooth tune that seems different from the style of DP’s past. It turns out that this single was just as taste of the vibe of their new record. 

The album kicks off with the track “Give Life Back to Music.” The opening riffs and melodies scream 1980’s rock and the mission statement is clear: they are trying to “give life back to music” by using actual instruments rather than relying on the computers and sampling the group has thrived on since they started out in the 90s.  

The last track, “Contact,” is the only that features sampling—Sherb’s “We Ride Tonight.” This is a far cry from popular tracks of the past, such as “One More Time” and “Digital Love,” which all features samples from other songs.

Even though the group is known for utilizing futuristic sounds, Daft Punk decided to go with the sound of the past for Random Access Memories.  The track “Giorgio by Moroder” is a tribute to Giorgio Moroder, one of the first musicians to use the synthesizer sounds. Daft Punk also tips their cap to the 70s and 80s by using the element of disco, jazz, funk and soft-rock. This blast to the past might throw off some listeners at first, but don’t give up .Although many of the songs on this record might not belong in clubs, they are very catchy and smooth – perfect for summer chilling.             

Random Access Memories boasts big names like Pharell Williams (who sings in “Lose Yourself to Dance” and “Get Lucky”), Julian Casablancas (the lead singer for The Strokes who appears in “Instant Crush”), Panda Bear (member of Animal Collective who sings in “Doin’ It Right”) and Paul Williams (award-winning 1970’s singer-songwriter, sings in “Touch”), to name a few.

Random Access Memories is Daft Punk’s “all-natural” album. This time around, they took a different approach to their music, which previously influenced big EDM names like Justice and Skrillex, and turned back the clock with their new work. No, it is not perfect, but maybe that is because it is simply not for the generation that wants only instant gratification and aural excitement. At a point in music where electronic music has been beaten to death with “wub-wub-wub” sounds and deafening dubstep, Random Access Memories brings a fresh sound to the genre by using old elements.



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Junior > Journalism > University of Maryland

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