Review: Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Give Life Back to Music
Crisp hi-hats open the album with a disco fest with the vocals “give life back to music” layered over what sounds like Nile Rodgers’ trademark strumming. Plentiful crescendo builds follow, but some might find this tingling their nose with odour de fromage.
The Game of Love
‘The Game Of Love’ is an 80’s slap in the face with a slow tempo and distinctively seductive vibe. It could be the backdrop to a sunset over the Miami strip and with sweet whisperings of “I just wanted to stay” at the end of the track, you won’t want it to stop either.
Giorgio by Moroder
The Godfather of synths commentates on his life becoming a musician. He tells a story of sleeping in cars, discotecs and musical preconceptions as meandering synth lines build in intensity. The melody just keeps coming back with more Moog, more drums, more strings and more guitars. A highlight!
One of the shortest tracks on the album (3mins 48 seconds) is also the most poignant; I could still hear this piano days after first hearing it. A deep vocoder sings about not understanding the world, being lost and not even remembering his own name. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Small but perfectly formed.
A poppy intro with synths, drums and bass and a light vocoder sings hard to decipher lyrics throughout the track. There’s a big electric guitar solo and another fade out but after four strong tracks this is the first that doesn’t resonate. Then again what do I know, I still maintain ‘Digital Love’ is the lull on ‘Discovery’ and people love that one.
Lose Yourself To Dance
It’s a festival clap-along with Pharrell on vocals. Much like ‘Get Lucky’, he’s backed up by some vocoder robots, this time singing ‘Come on, come on’. It’s a verse, chorus, verse set up with wicky-wah guitars and a catchy message about, you guessed it, losing yourself to dance.
Strap in. ‘Touch’ is Daft Punk’s ‘Bohemiam Rhapsody’ or ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’; an OTT number with five acts that goes from the reaches of space through horn sections, ‘Shaft’-like guitars and sci-fi sound effects. The intro alone is 1min 45seconds. There’s laser sounds, nice strings and even a bloody child choir. A vast track that sounds like a Broadway production condensed.
You’ve all heard this and you all know that this is the song of summer 2013. “We’re up all night to get lucky” will be sung at festivals, raves and afterparties the world over, the epitome of 21st century pop and an anthem that will bring a new generation of party people together.
‘Beyond’ sounds a lot like the sample used in Nate Dogg and Warren G’s ‘Regulate’ which is no bad thing. The intro sounds like a Disney film is starting – with a slice of Bond dramatics in its strings. The lyrics are about the existential world beyond oceans and mountains – a land beyond love. No mention of an east-side motel.
All scatter-funk and percussion-laced with soft keys, a huge 70s string cascade drops this track into a world of intricate drumming and acoustic guitar, built on a muted 4/4 bassline that rolls beautifully underneath. This is a departure. More Tron-esque, but with the drummer from Paul Simon’s ’50 Ways To Leave Your Lover’ letting loose. Then comes a sudden spookiness, as wet splats fly everywhere and a thunderstorm opens up. It’s raining in Bladerunner town! Four minutes in and the robot arpeggiations are back turning this all super-sci-fi before a whopping break returns. Interestingly, the drummer feels like the soloist here, but this is a track I can’t wait to hear again. Especially in the rain.
Fragments Of Time
Todd Edwards is best known for his cut-up editing you’ll know from numerous garage classics and Daft Punk’s ‘Face To Face’. But on this track there isn’t any of his remix wizardry, it’s him singing over cowboy-like guitars. His lyrics are about the time he’s spent with Daft Punk creating the track itself. He perhaps gives away too much singing “our only plan is to improvise” which might explain why this track falls flat compared to the rest of the album. Sorry Todd; this might have worked better if you made it into ‘gments-Of-me-Ti-Frag-ts-ts’ in your edit suite.
Doin’ It Right
A clear stand-out track and with a half-time opening, it’s almost dubby. The android rumbling of “Everyone will be dancing” forewarns the listener and drives the track while Panda Bear provides some giant vocals. Light and airy synths are introduced halfway through to make this a fantastic, understated ballad.
Another track like ‘Touch’ that is epic and possibly built for a headphone experience or an IMAX short film. It’s intro starts with an astronaut describing something out in space “It’s definitely not a particle near by, its rotating way out in the distance – there’s something out there” Big, dare I say ‘Justicey’ organs parp out and a tone reminiscent of Kavinsky’s work surrounds big drum solos, ‘Aerodynamic’-like electric guitars and a huge build that feels like your face is entering light speed. It’s very exciting and a fitting ending to an exhilarating album you’ll keep going back to.