By Virangana Pal
Going through the many records released in 2013, none are capable of surpassing the eye-popping grandeur and sheer technical wizardry of Daft Punk’s much awaited Random Access Memories. While EDM has its day, the duo’s 4th studio album beautifully wrong-foots assumptions of what a Daft Punk album would be like.
Random Access Memories finds the duo leaving their riff heavy EDM origin to a subtle mix of disco, soft rock, alongside some progressive pop and finally garnished with a pinch of their signature futuristic electro. With the likes of Neil Rodgers and Pharrell Williams collaborating, the 13 track, 80-minute long album is more of a love letter to funk than electro, which is both for better and for worse. Returning to songwriting and production; how strong is the groove and how catchy are the hooks?
‘Get Lucky’ manages to work its magic on both accounts, making it the unrivalled anthem of summer’13. Other charms of the first half, like ‘Within’, ‘Instant Crush’ and ‘Game’, deliver brilliantly with a downtempo, jazzy and electro-soul essence. The weakest track on the record, ‘Lose Yourself to Dance’ also makes its appearance on the first half of the record and serves as a good example of the potential pitfalls of a backward looking approach.
The second half outdoes the first with tracks like ‘Fragments of time’, ‘Digital Love’ and ‘Touch’ which pack a spacey intro with a 10/10 disco score and manage to encapsulate Daft Punk’s enduring proposition; their futuristic sound. The last song is ‘Contact’, the only sample based song on the album and pulls its riff from a song by an Australian band, The Sherbs. Throughout the album, you begin to realize, the strings are made of catgut and not 1’s and 0’s, something that slowly grows on you.
Despite claims of a rather disappointing album, Daft Punk outdid themselves. A decade hence, no one will remember the reviews, single release dates or the numerous marketing strategies employed to make this album successful. What people will remember is the simple notion of rediscovery in the ever changing present, and Random Access memories does just that.