Album Review: Daft Punk- Random Access Memories

Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, AKA Daft Punk, are back. The three year wait since the Tron soundtrack for this new album was definitely worth the wait. Random Access Memories is a thirteen track album with a little bit of every experience, appropriate with the title. I love that their album cover is the duo’s iconic robot helmets shining on the black background, as if they are about to take us into a time-slip of music.
The French duo, known as one of the leaders in electronic music of the 90’s, uses more live instruments in this album than they have in the past, and the blend of synthesizers and live instruments is extremely satisfying and tickles every single nerve in one’s ear. You can hear that immediately in “Give Life Back to Music” which opens with a rock feel but then becomes a smooth blend of jazz, funk, and electronic. The message in the title of this track is powerful because this is their exclamation to the world that they are back and once again ready to stand out.
The collaboration with multiple talented artists creates unique track after track. Giorgio Moroder speaks of his musical experiences in “Giorgio by Moroder” over tracks laid down by Daft Punk. The speech and the music are synced perfectly to match everything Moroder is describing, from his concept of clicks to the preconception of music represented by an orchestral arrangement. Pharrell Williams contributes on two songs, “Lose Yourself to Dance” and “Get Lucky.” These two are funky and groovy, and very reminiscent of the disco era while the lyrics remain relevant to party people of 2013. While “Get Lucky” is starting to get some attention, it is likely that it will become one of the summer favorites in the club scene.
This album touches on the good and bad of the past as a reflection of their life. “The Game of Love,” at first seems like the intro to a really sexy tune about the one that got away. “Within,” featuring Chilly Gonzalez on piano, reflects on uncertainty and indecisiveness through its lyrics and change of key. Julian Casablanca’s vocals on “Instant Crush” are swoon worthy and fit the sincere emotion of the song so well.
In “Touch,” there are probably as many changes as there are the number of times Voldemort dies (or his horcrux); it starts out dark and mysterious with a minimalistic tone pattern almost sounding pentatonic, then adds more mystery with a robotic voice repeating “touch.” Then it suddenly becomes uncomplicated with Paul Williams’ vocal accompanied by simple chords. After Williams sings the word kiss, the tempo become more upbeat and he begs for more certainty. Happy jazz band jam follows for a bit and suddenly there’s more hesitation, and the tempo slows as the music begins to wobble. A choir swells with sound leading to only silence, as Williams enters again with the same motif as the opening. The change after change is so complex but merges eerily well after one another that this song becomes one genius concoction of musical ideas.
The overall concept of this album is a travel back into time by adding modern takes on the electro style from decades ago and everything that Daft Punk created with their collaborators are a work of art. The hype that has built up over this album’s release will not disappoint loyal fans and new listeners.

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