Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Buy: Random Access Memories
Eight years in the making and the subject of the biggest hype campaign of the century, French electro pioneers Daft Punk’s new album Random Access Memories has a lot of expectations to live up to.
The prospect of Daft Punk abandoning the ‘EDM’ scene they inspired and returning to early 70’s disco and synths – with a live band approach featuring legends like Giorgio Moroder and Chic’s Nile Rodgers – gave me high hopes that Random Access Memories was going to be a genre-inspiring futuristic-disco classic. Unfortunately, it’s nothing of the sort.
My concerns over Random Access Memories not being all I hoped it would be first materialised with the release of ‘Get Lucky’. Despite it going on to conquer charts and break Spotify records, to me it sounded flat and sterile. As it turns out, ‘Get Lucky’ is actually one of the better songs on Random Access Memories.
Before I let my disappointment get the better of me, I better state that Random Access Memories is in no way a bad album. The production and composition of every track is beyond brilliant, and the epic ‘Giorgio by Moroder’ – in which the legendary musician recounts his life in music over an evolving disco/synth backdrop – is nothing short of majestic. Another standout track is ‘Instant Crush’, which is dominated by a vocodered Julian Casablancas delivering the best vocal line on the album (take that Pharrell!). Closing track ‘Contact’, with its stabbing synth intro, philosophical voiceover and epic crescendo is also worth a mention.
For the most part though, Random Access Memories sounds like highly polished lounge music made by middle-aged disco veterans – not the next step in dance music’s evolution. Nothing particularly wrong with that, of course, but the album really sounds like it’s reaching for something so much more. The fact it doesn’t succeed in its aims, and fails to live up to the hype, means it has to go down as a disappointment. Albeit a slick and extremely well-made disappointment.