Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories: Modern, slick, and entirely successful


Augmented by a number of guest vocalists – ranging from Pharrell Williams to Julian Casablancas – Daft Punk’s new album Random Access Memories is a modern and slick attempt to “give life back to music” and is an attempt that is entirely successful.Random-Access-Memories1

As mentioned, the album has several guest vocalists. With voices often changing from song to song, it had to be a challenge to make the album a cohesive whole.  The band’s steady and interesting soundscapes made this a possible task, with the band’s seemingly ever-present guitar augmented by synths, strings, and steady percussion.

Opening track “Give Life Back to Music” is a great starter, kicking off the album with a swirling buildup before settling-in to its groove.  “Music” has an easy, confident cool about it that only happens when a band is fully competent with all of the tools at its disposal, as Daft Punk undoubtedly is.

The guest vocalists also offer some highlights.  On “Instant Crush,” Julian Casablancas displays a sincerity that is almost never heard on albums by his band the Strokes, with his vocals delivered through a vocoder, something that is also not common for Casablancas.  The two tracks with Pharrell Williams, “Lose Yourself to Dance” and “Get Lucky,” add some smooth, almost r&b, flavors to the album.  “Touch” with Paul Williams is almost ballad-like at times, with the song’s many changes acting as a nice transition in the middle of the album.   DaftPunk-GQ-17Apr13-b_642x390

The best track, though, is the album’s vocal-less closer “Contact.”  The pipe-organ-synth gives an eerie feel to the track, the dirge enveloping your senses as the drums begin a series of rhythms that would make even Dave Grohl jealous.  The album’s other twelve tracks almost feel like a prelude or build-up, with “Contact” being what really lifts the band up into the upper atmosphere.

While not necessarily an unequivocal classic, Random Access Memories is a fine piece of work and could very well be the best thing you listen to all year.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5




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