You know, the funny thing about Daft Punk is that they’ve got an uncanny ability to create music that you can’t possibly imagine having done without. In other words, once you’ve heard them, it’s as if any past memories you have are of moments in which these songs existed, even though that is undoubtedly impossible. Perhaps that is the true magic of Random Access Memories: As you are filled with a genuine sense of déjà vu, these beautiful tones automatically recall thoughts of beloved tunes from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
While listening to the album with a friend, we were unable to stop ourselves from noting the similarities to familiar styles and enjoying them. Some would say that an album which tries to hard to emulate the work of others is disrespectful and unprofessional, and in a certain light they would be right. It’s a good thing, then, that Random Access Memories pays homage to these musical inspirations rather than just trying to emulate them. For crying out loud, one of the tracks features an opening which is nothing more than an interview with one of these inspirational musicians.
Needless to say, this isn’t exactly the kind of music that most of you have come to expect from Daft Punk. That being said, they do manage to find a way to inject a little of that electronic love into each one of their songs, which says something significant about the genre of music as a whole. I still remember asking a friend what they thought about their songs fifteen years ago, and I think it speaks volumes that I still hear that same reaction to this album: “This sounds like the music of the future.”
While some of the tracks might not be everyone’s cup of tea and there isn’t really one stand out, obvious hit among the group (save possibly Instant Crush), this is a solid set of 13 unforgettable tracks. You could easily pick any 3-4 titles off of Random Access Memories and put them on the radio, so it really is a toss up as to which ones people will attach themselves to. With a defined beginning, middle and end, this album defines both the future and the past, bringing us back to simpler times while taking us into the future. Not only that, but every track tells its own story, with several tracks featuring collaborations with other musicians.
Some fans will cry foul, seeking the harder, better, faster, stronger Daft Punk of the past, but they are fans who completely miss the point of this album. All at once, these guys are both tipping their cap to the musical styles that made their genre of choice possible, and bridging the gap between the hardcore fan and the guy who just listens to the radio. No, they aren’t pandering to a more general crowd, they’re trying to show the more general crowd just what they’ve been missing. Besides which, it isn’t as if they aren’t giving the hardcore fans anything to love, with tracks such as Giorgio by Moroder and Contact offering more traditional fare.
With all of this in mind, it isn’t difficult to make a decision about Random Access Memories. If you haven’t already picked it up, do yourself a favor and get this one immediately. Even if you don’t usually listen to Daft Punk, I’m sure you’ll find something to love about this album. It’s so widely varied and artistic that it would be hard not to find something to enjoy. It is for this reason and the fact that I can’t get these tunes out of my head that I give RAM an excellent score of…