I respect Daft Punk’s ability to funkify things; to elevate things in the room. I’ve enjoyed a bunch of their work over the years thanks to a Newgrounds cartoon for “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and their score for 2010’s Tron: Legacy. Yesterday, their first album in eight years, Random Access Memories, leaked to the internet. This isn’t a guide on how to get it, but I must say, I’m pretty put off by the result.
Enlisting the tranquil 70s vibe of backroom discoteques, Daft Punk tosses out pretty much every punchy synth in the inventory in favor of a soft vocoded croon. It just goes on and on. It’s as if they’ve ceded the dance-ready crown to Justice, the electro duo that have had the stage all to themselves in their absence, as if signaling some kind of post-Daft Punk era. Daft Punk croons, but it’s a passionate song they sing. In “Giorgio by Morodor”, they overlay an interview with legendary disco producer Giorgio as a kind of love letter to their influences.
There are definitely some highlights. First single “Get Lucky” almost feels out of place, like Kanye West playing at a retirement home. “Instant Crush” has a snappy drumline with an easy guitar strum on top that feels like it’s going somewhere, but never does. “Touch” is my favorite with ascending scales that give way to Paul Williams’ delicate, touch-and-go lyrics.
Random Access Memories is a sprawling epic, but it takes too much time meandering through the boring suburbs of EDM and its disco forefathers. I didn’t get very lucky with this album.