Hey, it’s only eight days until the new Daft Punk album finally arrives. Yes, only EIGHT!
The Parisian electro duo have dropped a 15-second video preview of the album’s opener, “Give Life Back to Music,” featuring Chic’s Nile Rodgers and smooth funk-jazz producer-composer Paul Jackson, Jr. The robot duo enter a spaceship and bust out a Random Access Memories vinyl album, and let the needle drop on 15 seconds of the rockin’ intro track.
You don’t hear it in the short clip above, but the full track leads to robotic vocals singing a mournful (yes, mournful) melody: “Turn on the music of your life.” It’s an homage to the dance floor and you’ll wanna bust out some Travolta-style moves, a la Saturday Night Fever.
Ever seen a room of pretentious music journalists clap in sheer awe and ecstasy? Well, it happened recently at Columbia Records’ Manhattan offices, where a group of journos gathered to hear Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, the most hyped and anticipated album of 2013 (so far, at least).
Beer, wine and cheese and fruit flowed, and paper-fold Daft Punk helmets were distributed. This was Daft Punk mania reaching those who, by job description, are supposed to be immune.
Here’s what it sounds like…
1. “Give Life Back to Music”
A glittery, super-charged, arena-rock intro (think ’70s Bowie-meets-jet engine) rises, then settles into a funk-groove with guitar (courtesy of Nile Rodgers) not unlike Kool & the Gang’s “Too Hot.” Enter robotic vocals singing a mournful (yes, mournful) melody: “Turn on the music of your life.” It’s an homage to the dance floor and you’ll wanna bust out some Travolta dance moves, a la Saturday Night Fever.
2. “The Game of Love”
Sexy and groovy, this track recalls ’70s prog-funk Stevie Wonder and even Lionel Richie. It’s an electric keyboard-apalooza. “There is a game of love / This is the game of love / And it was you / You break my heart when you decided to walk away,” the duo sing. A super smooth ice-synth melody enters to tropical salsa percussion. Babies will be made. This is the sound of robots f-cking.
3. “Giorgio by Moroder” ft. Giorgio Moroder
It’s the LP’s super-epic centerpiece: The Italo-disco pioneer recites a monologue about his life in music, from picking up his first guitar to crafting a futuristic sound via synths, then BAM: Night Rider-style beats stalk and… damn, this just kicks ass. There’s electric keyboards, guitar solo breakdowns, twists and turns and powerful orchestral sounds. It all ends in a freak-out collision of keys, synths, drums and guitar, rising and rising and rising. Journalists literally clapped afterwards.
It’s the sound of robots crying. A jazzy piano opening meets electric keyboards, then the duo lament, “There are so many things that I don’t understand / There’s a world that I can’t find see / Many rooms to explore but the doors look the same / I am lost, I can’t even remember my name.” Whoa.
5. “Instant Crush” ft. Julian Casablancas
It’s Room on Fire-era Strokes meets New Wave rockers the Cars. The upbeat, electric chorus has Casablancas pleading about a crush over laser-like guitar riffs and futuristic rock vibe.
6. “Loose Yourself to Dance” ft. Pharrell Williams
It’s yet another ode to the dance floor. It’s slick, ’70s funk, almost like a parody of the background music in porn videos. Funk guitar locks with a hard four on floor beat, then Williams’ silky-smoth voice enters: “Loose yourself to dance / Loose yourself to dance / Take my shirt and wipe up all your sweat.” Then the robots back him up: Come on, come on, come on, come on!”
7. “Touch” ft. Paul Williams
To get the ultimate sunny, West Coast soft-rock sound, the French duo went to the source: Paul Williams. This folk-prog jam packs it all in: Floating outer space keys, harpsichord jangle, trumpets, trombone, tuba and bassoon. At times, it sounds more like a Parisian vaudeville saloon band than EDM’s leading duo. “Touch, I remember touch, a painter in my mind, a tourist in a dream / A half forgotten song, where do I belong,” Williams coos. The robo voice responds: “Hold on if love is the answer you want / Hold on if love is the answer…” Angelic backup singers rise and those frantic, bee-swarm-a-comin’ strings enter. The production is awe-striking.
8. “Get Lucky” ft. Pharrell Williams
It’s the most futuristic, Tron-leaning on the LP: Big orchestra strings kick it off, then it’s all funk guitar and into-deep-space keys: “Neon lights / You will find your soul / Close your eyes and rise / Neon love come alive,” the robots sing. “You are the light beyond the ocean / You are the end of the beginning where time is not allowed.” These robots are gettin’ awful heavy.
This instrumental, sure to be ubiquitously sampled for the next few years, is a patchwork of the LP’s most disparate sounds: Hard percussion, strings and flute, oozing sounds and boiling water effects, electro-glitter rock and deep bass. We end with a dripping-water sound. It’s a trippy dance voyage.
11. “Fragments of Time” ft. Todd Edwards
With house producer Todd Edwards, Daft Punk have crafted possibly the greatest driving song, ever. It’s a total Hall & Oates nod and it’s on a road to paradise: “Sun in my eyes / If I had my way I would never leave / Turning our days into melodies.”
12. “Doin’ It Right” ft. Panda Bear
Who knew the Animal Collective whiz was down for disco? “Everybody will be dancing and feeling it right, doing it right,” he instructs in his trademark reverb-soaked vocal. “If you lose your way tonight, that’s how you know the magic’s right / If you do it right, let it go all night.” The disco-factor occasionally risks becoming a bit corny (it’s off-putting to hear such an experimental-minded artist on a crowd-pleasing anthem) but it’s simultaneously its selling point.
It’s the LP’s moody instrumental closer. It opens with recorded chatter between astronauts: “It’s definitely not a particle / It’s a bright object way out in the distance / As we look back at the earth it’s at about 11 o’clock / There’s something out there.” There is! Church organ floats then it’s drum beat craziness and total synth meltdown. A jet-engine sound rises and rises and rises in increasing in velocity, then: Weewwweeeewwwwweee!!!
Random Access Memories is the upcoming fourth studio album by French electronic music duo Daft Punk. It will be released by Daft Life under exclusive license to Columbia Records on May 17, 2013 in Australia, May 20, 2013 in the United Kingdom and on May 21, 2013 in the United States. Work started on the record concurrently with the Tron: Legacy score, without a clear plan as to what its structure would be. Shortly after Daft Punk signed with Columbia, a gradual promotional rollout began for the album including billboards, television advertising and a web series.
Random Access Memories pays tribute to the late 1970s and early 80s era of music in the United States, particularly the sound of Los Angeles recordings of the period. Daft Punk recorded the album largely using live instrumentation with session musicians, and limited the use of electronics to drum machines, a modular synthesizer and vintage vocoders. The album also features collaborations with Panda Bear, Julian Casablancas [of The Strokes], Todd Edwards, DJFalcon, Chilly Gonzales, Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams and Pharrell Williams. Critical reception to the album has generally been positive.
Read more about Daft Punk in Wikipedia.
|Random Access Memories|
|Studio album by Daft Punk|
|Released||May 17, 2013|
|Recorded||2008–13; Paris, New York City (Electric Lady Studios), Los Angeles (Henson Recording Studios, Capitol Studios, Conway Recording Studios)|
|Genre||House, disco, funk, electro|
|Label||Daft Life, Columbia|
|Daft Punk chronology|
|Singles from Random Access Memories|