Daft Punk: “Random Access Memories”


Cal Gross, Contributing Writer

With a career spanning twenty years and four album releases, the helmet-clad French duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homen-Christo have established themselves as pioneers and innovators in the genre of electronic music under the name Daft Punk.

In the much-anticipated Random Access Memories, Daft Punk ventures into uncharted territory yet again by infusing their characteristic electro-pop style with a 70’s and 80’s synth-funk and disco influenced sound.

On tracks such as lighthearted hit single “Get Lucky,” featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers, and “Bring Life Back to Music,” Daft Punk expresses the soul of the album as they pay homage to the dance hits of the past decades.  The duo experiments with live studio instrumentation, incorporating clean drums and bouncy guitar riffs into their electronic tracks.

Random Access Memories is an eclectic mix, featuring artists such as Panda Bear from Animal Collective and Julian Casablancas of the Strokes.  However, on many of these collaborations the featured artists attempts seem to be at most half-hearted. In his collaboration Pharell Williams (Panda Bear) appears to be putting minimum effort thus vocalizing a unimpressive mid-range.  Casablancas’s processed and repetitive chorus makes the song “Instant Crush” sound simply like a re-hashed Strokes song with a Daft Punk flare.

In this day and age, the joy of listening to full-length LP’s has been diminished by full length album leaks on sharing websites.

The all-encompassing experience of listening to an entire album is often overshadowed by the popular single tracks.  Daft Punk pays homage to these bygone days with their newest album, which creates a truly immersive listening experience. The songs in Random Access Memories are narrative driven transition seamlessly into each other.

The common theme of nostalgia and experience is explored throughout the album, as in the nine minute monologue “Giorgio by Moroder.”

The song, named after an innovative producer, Giorgio Moroder, reminisces about the beginning days of electronic music.

More casual listeners who know Daft Punk from their hits “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and “Around The World” may be surprised and disappointed by the ambitious direction the duo has taken, away from the hard-hitting classics of the past.

Though flawed in its execution at points, Random Access Memories is a fresh change that proves Daft Punk is capable of modifying their style on a dime, all the while retaining both their artistic integrity and the attention of their dedicated fan base.