CD review: Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

June 2, 2013


Random Access Memories was perhaps one of the most hyped records this year, but the members of Daft Punk have succeeded in delivering an album that meets and exceeds expectations.

The French duo’s new album, as its name—that amalgamates a technical term of the digital age (RAM) with a concept that has always been one of the main driving forces of great art (memories)—implies, is a merger of the new with the old, an attempt at maintaining the soul of music while remaining loyal to the technologies of the twenty-first century that have revolutionized it.

This theme is introduced from the very first track, with the title “Give Life Back to Music,” as if the French duo is telling its listeners that the digitization of music is no reason for it to lose its life.

In “The Game of Love,” the duo’s message is further developed, with a song that uses a vocoder, which Daft Punk has always been known for, but in such a way that makes the voice more human and emotional, invoking in listeners feelings that are more associated with soul rather than electronic music.

The use of digital technology to invoke human feelings is also evidenced in “Within,” which features a moving piano line accompanying the synthetic voice whose ability to reach into the listeners’ hearts is quite perplexing.

“Giorgio by Moroder,” on the other hand, is a tribute to the Italian record producer, featuring Giovanni Moroder himself talking at the beginning of the track about his desire to compose music that represents the spirit of the disco era but is simultaneously forward-thinking and revolutionary. And by adding his words, it seems that the French duo is telling listeners that that is the aim of this album as well.

The tune then drops into a groovy digital melody that engulfs the listeners and takes them back to the 70s, which also seems to be the purpose of other songs such as “Lose Yourself to Dance” and “Get Lucky”—nu-disco tunes that use modern technology to invoke memories of an era long-gone.

With this album, the French producers who have been behind such classics as “Around the World” and “One More Time” have further revolutionized electronic music, showing the world that it’s possible to convey true emotions in our era of digital excess, while keeping in mind that electronic music is also meant to have an element of escapism.