Ed.’s Note: Deion Moskal is not a music nerd. He was completely unaffected by the troll-stopping, Monday afternoon leak of French electronic duo Daft Punk’s hotly anticipated new album, Random Access Memories. He did not spend the evening filtering Stereogum’s comments section and crafting snark.
My Daft Punk knowledge starts and ends with a 2009 lake party for the last of my friends to graduate college. Some little brother told me about how Kanye had used their stuff for “Stronger.” After he played the Daft Punk version for the third time, I grew tired of our conversation and went back down to the dock.
Before leaving I gave the 17-year-old a beer because I’m a good influence.
I know they produced the music for “TRON: Legacy,” but I never saw the original and wasn’t too interested in the futuristic dodgeball that the movie seemed to be about. The latest news I heard on the Daft Punk front was them being rumored to maybe show up at Coachella. One of my best friends went this year and in the numerous “At Coachella…” stories she has told me since returning, none of them were about Daft Punk. So yesterday when the subject of Daft Punk began to circulate through the writer email chain—and the Internet at-large—and my name was thrown into the discussion to cover it I used this vast resume to win the job.
My original plan was to pick up a sixer of tall boys and breeze through the album a few times. When the internal debate about whether to get more beer or get something to eat set in I would start writing. Sadly the era of the Monday night sixer went by the wayside four years ago, so my virginal foray into Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories would be strangely sober.
“Give Life Back To Music”
The opening track, set the tone for me as to what to expect with a ‘70s funk-meets-modern electronica groove. This song is perfect for a subtle rave at an SEC frat house, but could also work at any wedding that aims to promote cross generation dancing. The shoulder shimmy factor alone is off the charts.
“The Game Of Love”
Lyrically this is my favorite song. If it was stripped down to the bare bones and lost the auto-tune, it would be a Taylor Swift set-closer.
“Giorgio By Moroder”
The first two-minutes of this song are an autobiographical tale from famous producer Giorgio. He talks about how he developed his sounds that presumably had an impact on the Daft Punk duo. After a three-minute interlude of psychedelic elevator music, Giorgio comes back in to explain more of the sound. If you stick with this song to the seven-minute mark there is a delightful section of the song where the synthesized music fades into turntable scratching with a deep plucking of a bass guitar beneath that before it revs back up to close out the song.
The piano here feels like it could be used for a “James Bond” intro. The lyrics are deeply interpersonal, but lose a lot of their power hidden in the auto-tune.
The foot-tap-ability comes back strong. This easily has the highest sing-along rating of any song on Random Access Memories and if Daft Punk cares at all about radio success they will release this as a single.
“Lose Yourself To Dance”
I instantly liked this song based on its name. Is it telling you to dance so much that you get taken over by the music and everything surrounding you that you lose yourself? Or is it telling you to first lose yourself so that you can just totally get down? A total chicken and the egg debate. Whichever side of the fence you find yourself on, there is no debating that this will make another great wedding song—for everyone, not just French hipsters—with clapping cues already built it.
The second, and final, long track song tests if you’re truly about this life. The opening is reminiscent of a carnival fun house with its spooky sounds and one word, “touch.” being echoed throughout its opening two-minutes. Once the music begins in earnest it takes you to a solo Broadway performance. The outro to this song is great as it goes from chorus style singing over time travel sounds back to the Broadway singing soliloquy.
This is definitely the party anthem of the album. And, apparently, it’s the lead single. Well, good.
The lyrics are something anybody who went to college can relate to: “We’re up all night til the sun/ we’re up all night to get some/ we’re up all night for good fun/ we’re up all night to get lucky.” Each time I listen to this song I find myself singing the lyrics and pointing to girls that I imagine are watching me perform this song on a stage. If you can find the place, this song would kill in karaoke.
Is this a 20th Century Fox-commissioned piece? No, the intro to the song just feels like a film studio during the opening credits. The title of this track is fitting, because beyond the intro, this is the most forgettable song on the album. Crushed it.
During my second listen to this song I tweeted out “This Daft Punk CD is some serious noise. Great if you don’t like singable lyrics.” This track is purely sounds and none of them stand out as musically pleasing, but they are interesting nonetheless. If I did decide to drink that sixer while listening to the album, the last two would have been when I decided to cook some gooey cheese eggs.
“Fragments Of Time”
During each listen I wanted to insert the “Double Vision” lyrics into this song. A comparison to Foreigner? “That’s high praise” said in the Andy Samberg-as-Nic Cage voice. The song is a smooth, easy listen that could easily be played in a dentist’s office waiting room to calm the nerves of a 9-year-old about to get braces.
“Doin’ It Right”
The auto-tune comes back and reminds you of the futuristic stylings of Daft Punk, but it isn’t long before a bare voice starts overlapping the lyrics. The harmony of the two different voices compliment each other well and meld together to a song that has a compelling ‘80’s electronica thing going. Bare bones 808s shit.
A fast-paced song that makes you feel as if you’re racing against the clock in an outer space level of Sonic the Hedgehog.
Not all songs on the album registered with me in their current format, I believe you could take “The Game of Love,” “Within,” and “Instant Crush,” and with a few minor changes put on them a Justin Timberlake or Adele album and go multi-platinum as singles. “Get Lucky” is the standout song for me because it’s easily danceable and I want to karaoke it. I’m sure Giorgio talking about his development as a music producer is great theatre for people deep into this genre, but I felt it took away from a very strong non-lyric track. This isn’t a CD to pop in while driving, but there are plenty of songs on here that are perfect for a party playlist. There is a great mix of danceable and lyrically strong songs to keep any fan of modern music happy.