Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories Review
Daft Punk mania is in full swing with the release of their new album Random Access Memories and dance music fans everywhere can stream the highly anticipated release for free on Rdio. The first new studio release from Daft Punk since 2005, Random Access Memories melds future and past with a fresh take on throwback sounds, from disco to prog pop and beyond. The 75 minute journey with the legendary French duo also features guest spots from Pharrell Williams, Panda Bear, Nile Rodgers and Julian Casablancas.
Here are a few of the tracks that stood out for me:
Track 1- Give Life Back to Music – The album starts with, “Give Life Back to Music” and honestly that’s what they have done in the pass few months. I haven’t seen people with such diverse tastes in music be as excited for a release as this one. The song starts with a boom of multiple instruments before crashing down with their classic funky guitars (provided by Funk legend Nile Rodgers on this track) and robot vocals into a smooth disco groove.
Track 3 – Giorgio Mordor – Giorgio Moroder was inducted into the disco Hall of Fame for his work in producing some of disco’s greatest hits. Daft Punk probably owes some credit to Giorgio for producing to hits he did. After all, the musical innovations created by Giorgio can be found in many of Daft Punk’s tracks. Giorgio admitted to being a fan of Daft Punk and luckily for him and Daft Punk he was included on their latest record. At the beginning of the track he talks about how he got his music career started in Germany. He wanted to mix the 50, 60, and 70s with futuristic sounds which led him to use the synthesizer thus creating a musical revolution much like his French counterparts have. Daft Punk makes use of Giorgio’s synthesizer innovation and creates a stellar track with funky baselines and drums.
Track 4 – Within – Chilly Gonzales throws down his melodic jazz piano skills to kick off this track. He is definitely one of the more interesting musicians, mixing his interest in electronica with his jazz composition skills. He has collaborated with fellow Canadian, Feist in the past and electronic-soul(?) artist, James Lidell. Robotaki made a cool remix 2 years ago for his track, “You Can Dance“
Within is definitely the deepest, melancholic track of the album shrouded with Chilly’s piano at the start and existential lyrics.
Track 5 – Instant Crush – The guitar and of course Julian Casablanca’s vocals are reminiscent of Casablanca’s band, The Strokes. Honestly, the more and more I listen to the track it almost sounds like a song from The Strokes past two albums that have had a little more electronic feel to them compared to their first album. Casablanca’s vocals are given a little auto-tune tweak to give this poppy groove a little more Daft Punk-like feel to the track
Track 6 – Lose Yourself to Dance – Like the first single, “Get Lucky”, Pharrell delivers his soulful falsetto vocals to “Dance”. (Speaking of the first single last I checked the song had 28 million plays, just on Spotify . . . wow). The mix of Nile Rodgers’ funky guitar and Daft Punk’s touch really makes you end up lose yourself to dance . . . for real.
Track 7 – Touch – Touch is slowly becoming my favorite song on the record including another cool collaboration. Probably the coolest one on the album. Paul Williams is a songwriter made famous in the 70s by writing for the Carpenters and Barbara Streistsand and even for the Muppets movie from the 70s. The track starts out in the deep, funky corners of space much like most Daft Punk tracks do before bringing Paul’s 70s sounding vocals in at the 2 minute mark. His vocals are then followed by some jammy piano and saxaphone nostalgic to music produced in the 70s. Another spacey break and then Paul ends the track with his unique “Touch” different from other collaborations from Daft Punk’s past.
Track 11- Fragments of Time- Todd Edwards provides his smooth vocals on “Fragments of Time.” He was featured on Daft Punk’s Discovery in 2001 on one of my all time favorite tracks, “Face to Face.” A twangy, country-like guitar riff pops up in towards the middle of the song and speeds up the tempo of the track until its end.
Track 12 – Doin’ it Right – The second track features the recognizable vocals of Panda Bear from the psychedelic instrumental band, Animal Collective. Panda Bear had originally reached out to the duo in 2007 hoping that his childhood idols would remix one of his tracks from Animal Collective. He was turned down. But, fortunately for him they reached out to him asking him to include some of his unique vocals for RAM. He flew out to France and in a quick weekend laid down the vocals for this slow, funky track.
Track 13- Contact- Daft Punk’s intergalactic journey ends with astronaut Eugene Cernan commenting on an unidentified fly object he saw on his way back from the moon during Apollo 17. Maybe comparing the UFO to Daft Punk in a sense that it s a unique sighting that is only seen ever so often. The fast paced drums seem alien to other approaches by Daft Punk but it was certainly a good way to blast you out of RAM and leave you wondering as to what the French duo will do next.
In honor of the new release, Buzzfeed and Rdio are also taking you on a trip through the Daft Punk catalog with a list of “10 Daft Punk Samples You May Have Missed.” Spanning the confirmed to the debated, the list looks at artists that have, or have likely, been sampled by Daft Punk. From Black Sabbath to Barry White, the list shows the wide range of genres incorporated into Daft Punk’s work and gives you the chance to be the judge and listen to the tracks back-to-back.
Direct Link to Random Access Memories on Rdio: http://www.rdio.com/artist/
Buzzfeed – “10 Daft Punk Samples You May Have Missed”: