Pop music has been dabbling in the sounds of the 1980s for more than half a decade now. With the onset of the current phase of electropop, retro has been in with the producers and the pop singers. It was inevitable that mainstream music would continue to fill the circle and deliver something that is straight up disco as we’ve been met with recent throwback albums from Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars. Daft Punk crashes through any hesitation that disco is back with Random Access Memories as it throws in some rock opera fusion as if a rip has happened in time itself.
The record is smooth and slick as Daft Punk depart from its previous sound that delved deep in the house music scene. They’ve replaced the pounding hypnosis of Around The World and Harder Better Faster Stronger with a more musically layered structure in songs that do the thinking for us. There are times when we’re dancing at a disco club to the funky guitar of Nile Rodgers before suddenly we’re transfixed, front row centre to a rock opera not unlike Jesus Christ Superstar with vocals by Paul Williams. Next thing, we’ve transitioned to a science-fiction space-warp before returning to an overseas adventure. Touch presents the best example of this near-physical exploration of sound. While Random Access Memories is mostly smooth and easy listening, we don’t get off that easily. The album closer Contact is intense as it builds up to a massive finish over the track’s six and a half minutes, complete with audio recordings of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, the last time humans walked on the moon.
Random Access Memories is a record that is crammed with detail by masters who put every consideration into everything that makes up the album. Everything from story and process of a song’s delivery to the recording of the monologue by Giorgio Moroder in Giorgio By Moroder and the types of mics used that span 50 years as the words spoken carry across time. In every instance, Daft Punk have created a sonic adventure that can take many listens to unravel and discover.
This album works because Daft Punk aren’t trying to force a message or show anyone up, nor are they trying to fit into a particular box. Random Access Memories crosses genres and generations, connecting music from decades ago to today and successfully linking them as judged by the success of the record and its first single Get Lucky. The music is offered nonchalantly as it feels easy and effortless despite the massive detail that went into its structure. It’s because of this they have delivered a completely badass record that blows every other recent attempt at being retro out of the sky.
1. Give Life Back To Music
2. The Game Of Love
3. Giorgio By Moroder
5. Instant Crush [featuring Julian Casablancas]
6. Lose Yourself To Dance [featuring Pharrell Williams]
7. Touch [featuring Paul Williams]
8. Get Lucky [featuring Pharrell Williams]
11. Fragments Of Time [featuring Todd Edwards]
12. Doin’ It Right [featuring Panda Bear]