The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Daft Punk get lucky with ‘Random Access Memories’

It has been eight long years since Daft Punk’s last studio album, Human After All, was released. It’s not like the French duo Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo were hiding away in the Alps like a pair of android hermits, for they were plenty busy releasing their second live album (Alive 2007) and producing the TRON: Legacy soundtrack.

The fans however, wanted something new to tear into and savor in an industry dominated by auto-tune and stale beats. “Help me, Daft Punk-Kenobi, you’re our only hope,” some fans pleaded.

Finally there was glimmer of hope for when their next project was going to be unleashed onto the masses in the form of a 15-second ad that aired during Saturday Night Live on March 2, 2013. Only two months later and their fourth studio album Random Access Memories was released and sky-rocketed to the tops of the charts worldwide.

Consisting of 13 new tracks clocking in at 74 minutes, Random Access Memories is the must-own masterpiece of the summer. Daft Punk does a U-turn on where the future of music is going and focuses on the era of music from the 1970’s and 80’s instead.

While music will constantly be evolving and becoming more complex and intricate for several decades to come, nothing compares with the memories associated with the music you grew-up listening to and that warm and pleasant feeling you get upon hearing authentic instruments being played and not created with a computer program.

The opening track “Give Life Back to Music” explodes into overdrive as you’re quickly launched into the familiar-yet-different touch of Daft Punk. With Nile Rodgers on guitar and Daft Punk on their famous vocoders, the message of bringing that thrill and sensation back into music is very much apparent, for what’s being played in clubs and on the air nowadays is sometimes cold and lifeless.

The next track “The Game of Love” slows things down for a moment, as it’s a beautiful duet between the androids. What makes this song so powerful is the opposite effect of auto-tune being used by singers today. While humans take advantage of sounding cold and mechanic, the androids want to sing with emotion and feelings. It’s a great ironic twist that will probably be lost on a few people.

“Giorgio by Moroder” is an interesting track, for the opening features a monologue by industry legend Giorgio Moroder talking about his early career in music and dancing at the clubs in the 70’s. Moroder collaborated with Donna Summer during the disco era and help provide that sound that so many artists, Daft Punk included, were influenced by throughout the years. After the monologue ends, an intense blend of disco and electro flows for several minutes and makes the listener feel like they’re half dreaming, half traveling backwards in time.

The track “Within” slows things down again, while the androids continue to pine and wonder with lyrics like “So many things I don’t understand,” with the chilling accompaniment of piano and drums. It’s an eerie track, but also enjoyable to see Daft Punk in a different light from what we’re used to in previous albums.

“Instant Crush” features The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas on vocals and continues with the disco electro flavor heard in full in the previous track “Giorgio by Moroder.” Casablancas’ vocals work extremely well when recorded through the vocoder and combined with the music, for it goes down smooth while remaining upbeat.

Speaking of upbeat, “Lose Yourself to Dance” featuring Pharrell Williams is one of two songs Williams and Daft Punk collaborated together on. It’s dance music with live drums, as the androids chant “Come on” throughout the song behind Williams’ pleasantly high vocals.

“Touch” is one of my personal favorites on the album, as it features singer-songwriter Paul Williams remembering all the feelings associated with the act of touch. The song is very complex, transitioning to several different kinds of genres throughout. The raw and pure sound of Williams’ voice is piercing against the piano and synthesizer, while overall haunting yet upbeat. You can hear his pain and passion, as if this was being performed for an audience on Broadway in a science-fiction funk opera.

The hit single of the summer “Get Lucky” is the second song featuring Pharrell Williams and while the title may suggest getting lucky in a sexual sense, it’s more along the lines of getting lucky finding a connection between two individuals. Catchy as hell with guitar riffs from Nile Rodgers, the chorus “She’s up all night til the sun / I’m up night to get some / She’s up all night for good fun / I’m up all night to get lucky” play on repeat throughout, followed by the androids and their vocoders towards the end. It is without a doubt the most “Daft Punk” feeling song on the track.

The exciting opening of “Beyond” sounds like something being conducted by John Williams, before the androids creep-in and whisper sweet electronic nothings into your ears. The same sound and feeling continues into the next track “Motherboard,” but lacks any vocals. It’s still a thrilling listen nonetheless.

“Fragments of Time” has a sunny California sound to it with Todd Edwards on vocals. I could definitely imagine myself riding up the coast parallel to the Pacific Ocean with this track blaring out of an old red convertible of some sort.

Another favorite track of mine was “Doin’ It Right” featuring Panda Bear from Animal Collective on vocals. It’s purely just electronica and the chorus of “If you lose your way tonight that’s how you know the magic’s right” is addicting when blended with the androids “Doin’ it right, everybody will be dancing” looping over and over.

The final track on the album, “Contact,” is a fitting goodbye for now as we’re deployed back into space to journey forth into the great unknown. Anything the androids didn’t get a chance to use feels like it’s been violently torpedoed from their bodies into this song, in the form of synthesizers, drums, guitars and more.

Overall I feel that Random Access Memories was well worth the wait and another Daft Punk classic in their arsenal. The collaborators they worked with were phenomenal, with each artist bringing something wonderful to the album.

Hopefully their next studio album won’t take another eight years, but whatever they put forth between then and now will surely be equally orgasmic to listen and dance to.

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