Everybody knows about Daft Punk, or rather, everyone who was around in the 90’s knows about Daft Punk. The French duo have been producing some of the most original and inspirational dance/house music since 1993, and with an 8 year gap since their last album Human After All, it seems fitting that they have now released their fourth album, Random Access Memories. Featuring brand new material from the pair and collaborations with artists such as Pharrell Williams, Julian Casablancas, and legendary Italian electronic music producer Giorgio Moroder, the 13–track album is packed with talent and couldn’t have been released at a better time, as dance music continues to dominate the charts worldwide.
Since their 2001 track Harder Better Faster Stronger was sampled in Kanye West’s 2007 track Stronger, which temporarily re-introduced the musicians back into the charts, Daft Punk have been lying relatively low, until they announced back in January that they would be releasing new material around May this year. In April they released Get Lucky – their first single release since 2010 – co-written by and featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers. The track has received positive reviews from many within the industry, such as Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac and fellow alternative music producer Fatboy Slim, and has stormed the charts, currently standing at #1 in the UK for the third week in a row. Random Access Memories was leaked online on Monday 13th May, a week ahead of its scheduled release date. Subsequent to the leak, iTunes have decided to make the full album available to stream online for a limited time only, presumably with the hope that this action will deter people from illegally downloading the album and prevent a loss of sales.
You can pre-order Random Access Memories here, but in the mean time read our review below:
The first track on the album Give Life Back to Music begins with a Pendulum-esque crescendo featuring drums, piano notes and epic guitar chords. After around 20 seconds it quickly reverts to a more familiar sound to avoid any confusion, with a catchy melody and their signature digitalised robot-like vocals. The track takes you straight back to what Daft Punk is all about – creating an addictive sound with the main aim of getting people out of their chairs and up on to the dance floor.
Following this is The Game of Love, which is a slower and more relaxed track, reminiscent of Something About Us from their second album Discovery. It proves the music duo isn’t limited to one sound, and this track really adds a more serious and sombre tone to the album.
Giorgio By Moroder features the well-known Italian electro-producer Giorgio Moroder, and is jam-packed with synth patterns and electronic jingles, a possible favourite for the die-hard electro fans but could be seen as being slightly over the top and instrument-heavy for some.
Following the craziness is a much calmer track named Within, which starts with an eerie solo of soft piano chords, slowly joined by digitalised vocals and winding synth patterns. Featuring vocals like “I am lost / I can’t even remember my name” the song is another of Daft Punk’s more in-depth tracks which step away from their signature dance-track stereotype.
Instant Crush comes in at track number five, immediately bringing flashbacks of old 80’s love-songs with the sad-yet-catchy guitar riffs and keyboard notes. It’s another slowed down electro track featured on the album, prompting the speculation that the artists were trying to achieve something further and more serious than their previous albums. The track speeds up for the chorus, showing off the pair’s talent at creating a great electro beat, behind vocals that are much more subtly robotic in this song than any other on the album.
Lose Yourself to Dance has a strong disco vibe, featuring lyrics from Pharrell Williams and catchy guitar riffs, with only minimal electro components and repetitive handclaps, making the eventual addition of Daft Punk’s synthesised lyrics “Come on, come on, come on, come on” a much stronger part of the track.
Touch is an 8-minute track featuring Paul Williams, trumpets, piano chords, synths, and drums – and as epic as it is, it seems to go on forever which slightly ruins the track, although the inclusion of several game-like sounds makes up for the length of the track.
This is followed by the album’s only current single release – Get Lucky, which, as mentioned above, is still holding the #1 spot in the UK charts. The repetition of the lyrics “We’re up all night to get lucky” and the classic dance-inspiring sound behind it gives the only reason for why it has been so popular – a truly classic Daft Punk track which transports you straight back to the 90’s.
Beyond features an epic string instrumental beginning, reminiscent of Star Wars or some other similar epic Space-style film. “You are the end and the beginning” are lyrics that give an inkling to the mood of the track, accompanied by upbeat background instruments and synths.
Motherboard follows with some bouncy sounds and yet more string instruments mixed into the continuing electronica. With no lyrics present the listener is able to fully absorb the music, and listen to another epic track by the talented Frenchmen.
Fragments of Time features Todd Edwards, who successfully gives a fresh edge to what could have been a slightly repetitive sounding track. It again takes you back to the 80’s with its chilled speed and upbeat lyrics and prominent guitar riffs “Turning our days into melodies!”
Doin’ It Right oozes dance floor melodies, with claps and drums giving it a slight hip-hop feel, while the fast-paced Daft Punk lyrics “Everybody will be dancing tonight / Doin’ it right” are accompanied by the refreshing voices of collaborators Panda Bear “If you lose your way tonight that’s how you know your magic’s right”. It’s easily my favourite track from the whole album.
Contact concludes the album in style, with prolonged piano chords and spiralling key notes, creating a rather epic sound for the end. Another song with no vocals, it oozes electronica and heavy drum sounds, which finalises the album and shows off the hard work the artists have gone to with their newest album. Simply amazing.
Random Access Memories is available to pre-order now through iTunes, and will be available to buy in shops in the UK from Monday 20th May.