Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (2013)

Date Released: May 17, 2013
Album Genre: Electronic Rock, House, Groove
Album Rating: 9/10

I finally pushed myself to write a review of this Daft Punk album. Let’s start off with the steps I had to go through to get here. I’ll be honest, the first listen through this album I thought it was mediocre but decent, no hard feelings. I think I just had way too many expectations for the new Daft Punk album, but then I asked myself “what possible expectations could you have with THE constantly evolving Daft Punk who had eight years to refine themselves? One More Time?” I couldn’t give an answer and with that I let go of all of that. I know, I’m sure every artist wants you to go through this whenever they release a new album like MGMT’s Congratulations or Justice’s Audio, Video, Disco, but leave it to Daft Punk to really get you to do it. Moving past the growing pains, the more I listened to this album, the more I fell in love with it.

I don’t know if it was simply the direction they were taking or recent advances in technology have allowed them to do this, but this entire album sounds way more natural. If you listen to any of their earlier albums, there’s a very robotic electronic sound to all the tracks, not surprisingly they’re personal are robots. From the beats to the actual melodies, their older tracks were very mechanical in essence. Many of the tracks in this album sound like real instruments were used, which surprisingly gave it a very different sound. I mean, they always had the groove-sound attached to the electronic music, but it was especially so in this album.

Let’s talk about the tracks.
Act 1 – Let’s Fall in Love
What an introduction to the album with Give Life Back to Music, they really get into it quickly. No tricks, this is what you should expect. It’s got bits of Daft Punk, but also a more groove influence that we never heard before in their earlier albums, at least not like this. To be honest, the next track The Game of Love was slightly misplaced. I love the track, but I felt like it would’ve been better placed elsewhere. Maybe they were serenading you with love for the next track Giorgio by Moroder, when I knew things were picking up. Opening monologue and then “…My name is Giovanni Giorgio, but everybody calls me Giorgio.” track start BANG! This may be one of my favorite tracks of the album. Things get slower again with Within. It may be just me, but I’m rarely a big fan of ballades, although I found myself really listening to this track and not simply skipping it. A good sign in its own. I really love it when the vocals pick up half way through the track, and I can’t get enough of the transition to the next track Instant Crush. God damn, I’m in love.

Act 2 – Let’s Party Hard feat. Pharrell
At this point I’m really liking the movement of the album. Lose Yourself To Dance is another favorite. Surprisingly not even upbeat, but something about it has me wanting to get up… and dance. I’ll admit, Touch is weird although I thought it was well placed between Lose Yourself To Dance and Get Lucky. Feeling almost like a slow motion scene, this is typically the part of the movie where the characters are on some serious drugs. The track was highly dynamic and unexpected. Get Lucky, the only single from this album, was definitely one of the gems of the album with all its groove and rock. I’ve probably listened to this track a hundred times without getting tired of it. I’m pretty sure I put it on repeat for a couple hours when the single was released.

Act 3 – Let’s Drive Away into the Night
The next two pure Daft Punk tracks Beyond and Motherboard really captured me with an almost primal David Bowie essence. What great tracks, I can’t get enough of the second half of Motherboard. Back to groove, Fragments of Time was slightly standard sounding but a great track regardless. You hear Daft Punk come in a bit part way through at the end, I could have used more of that short lived part. Big bass from Doin’ It Right, first time in this album and its at the end! I’m guessing that’s an influence from Panada Bear. The last track Contact was slightly bittersweet because I felt almost like this was a track saying “wait, there’s more!” but there’s no more, it simply cuts off into electronic static.

Do we have to wait another seven years for the next album? Seems to be the trend. I’d like to firstly buy this on vinyl and listen it in its true form, none of this mp3 bullshit. And secondly, I’d like to do a road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway and have this on the playlist.