Kicking things off with an 80’s influenced rock crescendo followed by a smooth disco rhythm from around the same era, the French duo announce their return to the music world.
The title of the opening track Give Life Back to Music is rather apt, considering the influence they have had in redefining not only dance music, but also the entire mainstream spectrum of music as we know it today.
Though fans are a tricky bunch to please. Having waited almost 7 years after releasing their last full album, most people were eagerly anticipating the album to be 7 times as good as anything they have ever produced. Unfortunately, that’s not how music always works and there are times when, after such a long lay off, an artist’s return album can disappoint.
This is not the case with Random Access Memories. The album is unlike anything even the most ardent fan could have expected, and as such, has been a clever, calculated return to the mainstream industry.
The only real criticism I have of Random Access Memories (and believe me, I had to think long and hard before I could find one) is that while it has undeniable strength as an album in its own right, I don’t know where the next break out single will be coming from. I don’t hear a Technologic or an Around the World on this album. I don’t know if any of these songs will be able to shut a club down like the anthemic One More Time.
My opinion is epitomized by the lead single Get Lucky which is an easy, mellow listen. It’s funky, but the kind of funky you play in your car while driving home, rather than that which makes you abandon all insecurities about your dancing skills and hit the dance floor.
Elements of just about every genre of music can be heard in different tracks, from orchestral string choruses and 80’s hip hop to electro synthesizers and rock guitar shreds. I hope this is one aspect of this album that will receive widespread appreciation. To be able to merge so many different sounds in different tracks, stretching across different musical eras and genres, but still making it sound so in sync is no small feat.
You’ll find several guest appearances on Random Access Memories, including Panda Bear, Todd Edwards and Pharrell Williams. Each featured artist adds something a little different to album. I particularly enjoyed Giovanni Giorgio Moroder’s introductory monologue in the track Giorgio by Morodor.
My favorite track on the album is the transcendent, Touch, featuring Paul Williams. A song that feels like a journey through musical melodies concluded by lyrical beauty with the lines “Touch, sweet touch. You’ve given me too much to feel. Sweet touch, you’ve almost convinced me I’m real… I need something more.”
Music in 2013 is more dynamic than it’s ever been, particularly the dance genre in which Daft Punk gained so much of their fame. It’s now a genre dominated by thumping drum n bass rhythms, and heavy dubstep drops. It was never going to be easy to return to the mainstream front after so long out. But if anybody could come back and successfully leave yet another mark on the music industry, it’s Daft Punk.
It wasn’t clear whether Random Access Memories would be able to live up to the hype and the expectation, but rest assured, it has.
My conclusion? This album is nothing short of a breathtaking masterpiece, if I’ve ever heard one myself.