The Album Collection #10: 2013, Daft Punk, Random Access Memories

by Charlie_East_West on May 24, 2013

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Liam Gallagher is clearly no fan of Daft Punk – “I’d write that in a fucking hour. I don’t know what the fuss is about, you know what I mean? It’s like fuck off, give me a fucking break. I am not going to have people wear disguises. Take your fucking helmet off. Let’s see what you look like sans helmet, whatever you’re called.”

This week, Daft Punk released their first album in eight years called, Random Access Memories, and it is likely to become the fastest selling album of 2013. I had decided against purchasing this album because of the constant stream of obsequious reviews from almost every single music critic, and my fear that this album will hit the mainstream and be bought by individuals afflicted with my previously coined – Jo Whiley Syndrome – the type of person who will plonk it on at dinner parties to pretend they know about music.

But, after Mrs East-West requested the album, the album was promptly downloaded onto the family ipod. You can spot the differences between a Mrs East-West downloaded album v a Mr East-West downloaded album pretty easily on the ipod. But, I will leave the debate over gender generalisations of music taste for another day.

Like Ronnie Corbett, I digress. I am here to review the new Daft Punk album.
Random Access Memories has the hallmarks of the robot-helmeted Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo robotic dance music. It is catchy, ambitious, and stuffed full of collaborations with the likes of Pharrell Williams – on the number 1 single Get Lucky and the soon to be classic – Lose Yourself to Dance – a song so ridiculously catchy, I even found myself dancing to it whilst driving – and believe you me, that is not a good look for me, my passengers, or fellow sharers of the road.

Other collaborations include Giorgio Moroder, Julian Casablancas, Panda Bear, Nile Rogers, and Paul Jackson Jr. That is a pretty interesting and eclectic set of collaborators, and it works a treat in many cases.

The album is really difficult to pigeonhole in terms of its genre. Generally speaking though, it is a mix of ’70s disco, ’80s funk, and 21st century hip hop and dance music. Stand out tracks include Instant Crush, Lose Yourself to Dance, and melodramatic, epic showstopper – Touch.

The album is however, flawed in parts. Within is a complete dirge of a song, and Giorgio by Moroder is far too clever by half – and does not work for me. I am also still lacking any real warmth to those metallic robot vocals – in fact, the best parts of the album are the key moments influenced by the collaborators, and here lies the truth within this album. Daft Punk are only really good when they are standing on the shoulders of others, or, at least, supported by others.

But, this album is going to be bloody huge. So huge, that I expect to hear it at dinner parties, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and hotels very soon. It will be the soundtrack of 2013, and there will be no escaping from it. A Moby/Play for 2013.

Overall though, Random Access Memories should be applauded. It is a bloody ambitious album, and there are a lot of very good things happening within – but the Trojan horse has arrived, and mass consumption, overkill, and ubiquity awaits as its fate.

I have some friends staying this weekend. I hope I can resist putting this album on when we all sit down for some grub and liquid refreshments. If I do, then I really have become the ultimate hypocrite.

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