Friday, 14 June 2013

Album review: DAFT PUNK - Random Access Memories

Highlights: Give Life Back To Music, Instant Crush, Get Lucky, Doin’ It Right

It is not just random boys and girls who heard “Get Lucky” on Spotify or on MTV and fell for Daft Punk’s newest. Everyone seems to be at it, everyone that is, whose tolerance of commercial pop music is above zero level. And let’s admit it: in this age and time it has to include each one of us. I’m not in any way suggesting that those who say this album is stodgy, slick and soulless bullshit are pathetic liars, but that does seem to me snobbish without a reason. Because really: this is not just commercial pop trash. This is also ambitious and terrifyingly adventurous. Speaking of which, Shaking The Habitual can go suck it.

The mass appeal of Random Access Memories is not that hard to explain. Two songs into the album, you are caught up in this rather wonderful juxtaposition: you are listening to a modern pop record that is steeped in the past (70s dance music, to be more precise). I never cared for Daft Punk’s house music, but Random Access Memories has both substance and a great deal of style.

“Get Lucky” is of course funky dance pop heaven, deliciously dumb and mind-numbingly catchy. But this isn’t really about singles or standouts. Random Access Memories is almost like a concept album that reveals incredible consistency with each new listen. The deliriously infectious “Instant Crush” (with Julian Casablancas) is The Strokes’ latest through auto-tune and with no restraints whatsoever. “Give Life Back To Music” is a classy, loving tribute to, well, music. “The Game Of Love” and “Within” are polished, sterile ballads that work despite the fact that they are about execution (I guess I don’t even need to mention that the production here is what the word ‘impeccable’ stands for) rather than any half-palpable emotions. The lengthy “Giorgio By Moroder” and “Touch” are a little self-indulgent, but that is like accusing Beady Eye of sounding too much like Oasis. They lose me a bit on the rather faceless (if perfect) “Beyond” and “Motherboard”, but the album still ends strongly, with the pleasantly whimsical “Doin’ It Right” (featuring Panda Bear, of all people) being one of the record’s biggest highlights.

The first thing I’ve heard from LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy was his 2005 single “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”. Back then I did of course think: never going to happen. But now it has. Daft Punk are playing at my house, and I can’t get enough of them. Random Access Memories is expansive, sprawling, brainy, impeccable. I almost went for a nine here, but that would be like selling my whole family to a slick, soulless pop Devil. One that you can perhaps see on this album's cover. 


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