Earlier today I posted some very hyped up speculation about the album + some thoughts about Daft Punk in general. You can read it here.
And now the album itself is out!
Will it live up to the hype? Who knows. I'm happy to report that the idea of me not liking it and not praising it to death is practically zero. You might say that I'm a shitty music critic in that case, but this isn't about any sort of objective analysis. This is about capturing my EXTREMELY HYPED UP impressions of THE FIRST TIME I LISTEN TO THE FIRST NEW DAFT PUNK ALBUM IN 8 YEARS WOW.
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
1. "Give Life Back to Music"
Kaboom! With those guitars and that drum wow! This is like going into three new dimensions and then WOW, that pull back. This is SMOOTH. This is so smooth I feel like the music is gonna slide right off it. I love that little cymbal fill and wow this guitar riff. It feels both spacey and expansive... WOW AND ROBOVOICES. I'm not sure what they're saying aside from the title but I'm sure I will agree to let the music do [something]. This even more accented riffing is just so delightful. This feels like some poolside shit right here. Like some Miami with the roof dropped and WOW NOW INTO SPACE. "GIVE LIFE BACK TO MUSIC". And another pullback. I love the structure of this, so exciting. You can just hear Nile Rodgers smile as he plays. One more burst and pullback and oh man those like happy crowd sounds. So many ways to do a sound like that and I feel like they just nailed it. Are we just gonna vibe our way out or one more big burst into space? Seems like the former... they're saving the big technoburst for later. Ahhhhhh... I'm so happy. I'm so happy this is gonna be good. I love those tiny glistening cymbal taps. Nice, nice. *
2. "The Game of Love"
Wow this is like underwaterfunkaholic sorta stuff. That really bubbly like... brassy sound, this is like Donkey Kong Country underwater music if you played as Funky Kong in Donkey Kong. "There is a game of love", I like it. Very sensual, discrete. The seduction of an inch of skin. Etc. "It was you/the one that would be breaking my heart". And then this lovely melody here at around 1:30, so catchy with all this other stuff. I can't get over the idea that this is like Rareware sorta music at it's best, it just feels so right. WOW HAHA THOSE TRIPLETS ON THAT DESCENDING/ASCENDING WOBBLY SYNTH LINE. Perfect, just perfect. This is the song that comes on in that same Miami dream while the sun is going down. I love the starkness of the drums compared to the depth of that bassline and these synths. And then the rounded but precise synth stuff and wow now we get like robomoaning... I love that you can hear him breathe in, that sharp breath intake sound. This is both so human and so alien, so... Daft Punk. This outro man, I dunno how to describe it. The way those little cymbal taps come in... it feels like the finale already! But luckily there's still ELEVEN MORE TRACKS to go. Are you having fun? I'm having a blast. *
3. Giorgio by Moroder
9 minutes wow we are in for a haul. This is like... a GY!BE sorta intro. A documentary song? Interesting? I love the sound of this guy's voice, so experienced, especially when you consider who it is. Oh man the way the sound is evolving along with his story, he says he goes to the disco and you hear the disco coming to you. These smooooooth glissing in the back, "Why don't I use the synthesizer?" Good question, go for it. Oh man, he describes the song being heard by us right now. This is such a clever concept. Jesus wow. And then wow at like 2 min we get into the song itself, his vision of the future as interpreted by Daft Punk. And Wooowowoowowow this thing is catchy. How does a synth sound both so classic and futuristic at once? It is like it dropped out of time from some alternate future/past. Such a simple little line and yet I know it is going to be right in my head from now until ??. And geeeez here comes the guitars, now probably my most anticipated element on any of these songs. This is going towards disco funk and house all simultaneously and I love it and WHAT IS THAT A SAXOPHONE? more like a sexophone, and these piano keys? Oh wait that wasn't a sax anyways... I love this breakdown at 4:15ish. This is straight live noodling sorta business and this percussion is just wonderful. It is also moving in the direction of jazz for sure. It really feels like a documentary of music beyond just the premise but even into this structure, highlighting different ideas. "Free your mind from concepts of harmony, of music being correct" etc, AND THEN WOW, these synths at 5:15ish, BABOOOOM, they tackled a sound everyone and their mom has done and did it just about the best I have ever heard. AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa wow at 5:40ish when everything comes back in, it feels like three decades of music just rushing together. OKAY THIS MUST BE THE FINALE, this must be the end of the song, the rest of the whole album silence, how can they top this? Listen to that breakbeaty percussion! DID I JUST HEAR,... YUP, SCRATCHING TOO. YES. This song has everything + more. Scratching alongside a bass riff like this, I'd feel it corny on paper but wow this just works so well. This breakdown sorta feeling here, INTENSITY INTENSIFIES. AND A GUITAR SOLO? WHAT IN THE OH MY HOW DID YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO START DOING THAT? Amazing. Nicely done. Wow. Jesus. Wow. stop you can stop please no you're starting to no that is just too much you're ruining don't you realize you're ruining the rest of music??? ***
I kinda hoped this would transition out of the beat at the end but this intro is just too cool. Too... Chilly? Hahaha... ugh. Seriously this just straight piano intro is so good. I'm glad they felt no need to do anything to it yet. And yes when stuff is added it feels so good for the delay. I love the way they absorb and warm the piano. "There are so many things I don't understand" oh like how is this music so good? This feels very session-y, they are just adding these classic Daft Punk elements into the even more classic jazz studio session structure + aesthetic. And oh wow does it ever work. This is surprisingly intimate and "chamber-y", not the sort of thing you usually get from Daft Punk... I love the drums on this one especially, that one sorta clap tone, I dunno how to describe it, and the dynamics of both sliding synths and the sliding of the chimes. ahhh~~~~~... I like this outro too. And how the piano is still here. And this slow down, nice, so jazzy, so nice. S+
5. Instant Crush
This sorta sounds like a Strokes song already. Laaaaaaast night I expect to hear y'know? But then they get this sorta double loop thing happening. Wow I like this vocal effect they gave Julian. I love how his vocal melody plays with the synth melody. This is another melancholy sorta track, WHERE DA PARTY AT? Oh man he jumped up an octave here it is AND WOW YUP PARTYSTARTING. I love this vocal rhythm I feel like singing along despite just hearing it now for the first time. It is just so infectious. And then we pull back, I like this sort of structure sure. I'm not sure what the "plot" of this song is... no idea, really. Will give it some thought though because the lines I do catch/understand seem very intriguing. I like this at like 2:50, and wow those HEAVY drums, BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM. And here COMES DA GUITAR, I love it. Can you even IMAGINE what this album will be like live? Wow and here we go again, I love that bass line so so much. But this vocal rhythm is so so infectious! I have started whistling along just totally automatically. And then we get a nice shift up, and then this wonderful rhythm with BONUS HARMONIES, man they know just how addictive it sounds, they are just gonna give me a nice big bucket of it, thank you so much, it is like crack. And then this outro... it woulda been so easy to just hit that same rhythm, but instead they compliment it like this. Masterful. Beautiful. Catchy as all hell. *
6. Lose Yourself to Dance
Woaaah what sorta lazerouterspacejam have I just stumbled into? This feels like "Get Lucky" but like... a deeper groove. Pharrell on a heavy MJ sorta pop here. Wow those claps this anthemic chorus. OKAY FINE I WILL. but i'm gonna keep sitting here typing instead of dancing sorry. Maybe this isn't even a chorus, maybe this is the whole song no wait nevermind. I love these lyrics. SWEAT, SWEAT, SWEAT, SWEAT. WOW and then this robot voice hahaha OH WOW. Comeoncomeoncomeoncomeoncomeoncomeoncomeon!! This is just such a SOLID groove, you could play this at the borders of China and the Mongolians would stay out. And then this roboverse wow. I love that they haven't dialed back any elements, they're all just going crazier. This is just Jesus wow EVERYBODY ON THE FLOOO-OOR. comeoncomeoncomeoncomeoncomeoncomeoncomeoncomeon. Wow and the break at 3:30 that's just genius, now we get like another mini total escalation and wow another strip down at 3:50 that's just so nice, this structure is just so so genius. SWEAT! SWEAT! SWEAT! SWEAT! Haha hahahaha oh wow I just can't keep straight what is even happening here with these three vocal parts. This is such a solid groove that I feel like it has petrified me onto the dance floor. god DAMN. **
This one is 8 minutes too. Really spacey intro. What is this, BoC? Haha wow they are just going crazy. This would be a crazy iidx chart or whatever. I love this sound sheesh. Other planets sorta vibe here. TOUCH! What is even happening here? This is so bizarre. Touch? I remember touch? This is so so alien. What is happening? I'm... I'm scared. "I need something more!" I worry that if this gets much weirder my dad will make a face when I play this album for him in the car. Maybe a good face though. WOW what. What is even happening? Paul Williams what are you talking about? "A half forgotten song", yeah like, his voice is so iconically nostalgic in my mind. This is sheesh wow this is like some sort of musical. He is rediscovering humanity and the music is providing it or something. Crazy, crazy. I love this little drum thing happening while the synth just noodles and then wow yeah gods of string synth samples (or just strings) AND THEN HAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA WHAT IS THIS. BRASS? THE CIRCUS? PARADES AND PICNICS? This is so happy, so fanciful! Ragtime and stuff wowowow. And so so so groovy still! I really want this to just go on and on and wow wwwwwwwww nope nevermind I'm glad that happened at like 4:10. This is just pingponging around in my brain. This is just a sloowwww jammm now I love it. "Hold on/If love is the answer you're ???" And these warm juicy piano chords and these choral vocals wow, wowow. "If love is the answer you're home"?? Nice. And then these brilliant strings and these these scificore sounds and what is even happening, please tell me what's happening and there's HAHA OH WHAT. HOW? HOWWWWWW. How did they pull that off? We are in like another whole galaxy now and yet we're also home. This is just geeeeez, GEEEEZ. Goodness me. This is on a whole nother trip man, how did they even have the confidence that this wouldn't be corny as hell and actually be AMAZING? Cause on paper this whole thing just seems so ridiculous but in your ear this idea is ridiculously good. Bwooooooooooooooooouububububuuuiee and then silence. "Touch, sweet touch!" "You've given me too much too feel" OH I'LL SAY SO. "I need something more" and then a minor chord welllllllllllll you're in LUCK. **
8. "Get Lucky"
Ahhhhhh, here we go. The full intro. The full song in full glory. After like hundreds of plays of the radio edit it feels like a revelation. Like a revolution. These still might be my favorite vocals on the album but maybe that's just cause I'm so used to them. I can't help but sing along with this song every time I hear it. It is a total compulsion. What is this I'm feeeeling? Prolly the excitement over there still being 5 more tracks, including ONE WITH PANDA BEAR. HAHA OH man it caught me off guard at 2:40 cause I forgot this wasn't the radio one haha, this works way better, when the robovocals come in it is gonna be SO SWEET. Haha yes the way they bring this in, this is so solid, so connected. "We can work together!" The swoop on "lucky" just clasps my throat with hype... in a good way. And then both Pharrell and the robovocals at once. I can't wait for the outro on this version and yet I'd love to wait like.. for another 10 minutes of this. Haha wow. Yes. Just piano and drums and claps and Pharrell. The fact that that is "just" is testament to the complexity of these tracks. This is so much better than the radio version wow. I feel like they duped us with that version sheesh. ***
Haha what is this? Final Fantasy music? Whaaaaaat? Seriously what is happening? Did they think they were scoring another film? This is just insane! And yet there's this sense of rhythm and beat to it and wowwwwwww haha what, what a fakeout. That's just crazy. We're really going beyond so many things here. "Before sound", I feel like Daft Punk just did a sort of "Genesis" moment, I'm not sure what I mean by that but it came to mind. "To the land of love/Beyond love/Come alive", wow. "You are the night, you are the ocean, you are the light behind the cloud" etc, etc. "The world where time is not allowed" and now these sort of cinematic strings are coming back in, crazy. "It is the birthplace of your dreams" okay what. I feel like you are still driving this Miami vision car but now between two big primeval mountains. And there's like funky dinosaurs and they're just like hey man, keep on keeping on and stuff. I have no idea. This is vibey as hell though. S+
Ha wow. Yet another intro that launches you into god knows where. I love that water sound, these really bendy sounds, contrasted with that piano tone and huh these strings and flutes? What's happening? This sounds almost like Radiohead! WHAT? YUP I SAID IT. And I by no means regret it. These bongoy sounds and these rolling percussions are like King of Limbsy and then this guitar seems really Flashbulby but the whole thing also sounds so dang original. This is a sound I want to dive head first into and just swim around. The strings are so bombastic it almost feels distracting but they also just put the whole song into this shuddering dramatic tension that wow sheesh I just can't believe this all. These pianos oh man oh man, with these scattery drums, how did they even manage that. The piano tone sounds almost BoCish but then the drums are straight Aphex and WHAT is happening at like 3:00?? Insane!??! So squelchy! So huge! Now everything is so immediate and full and washed out again feels just like my head is a radio etc. And what the heck? This outro??? So spooky! So much going on here! I can't wait to hear this twenty more times. Man and then I remember earlier tracks and I can't wait to hear them again either. Hahaha oh man this album is so exciting. I love these drums I love how they sorta simplify while the synth gets now the scattery rhythms I love that interplay. Good job Daft Punk. This song I never never could have expected. Water outro thank you based Daft Punk. **
11. "Fragments of Time"
This is more traditional. I can name all the instruments I hear at least. It is very cool too. Like ayyyyyyyyyy cool. I was gonna say it feels like driving again and then the lyrics explain exactly what scene I was beginning to picture. "Keep building these random memories!" haha title drop yay. This is wow haha so poppy. I love it. So bouncy. And then that deep, deep bass line. Nice. "Making me feel like I'm seventeen" "It's crystal clear I never ever want it to end" well heck yeah this is great. So celebratory. Nothing here seems like it was given any extraneous attention at all, it's like, the most straightforward version of the song that can be. And I love it for that. Oh but here's a bridge sorta thing at 2:40 and I like that too. And HAHA WOW IT'S THE ISAAC HAYES SUPERFUNK SOUND. woowowowowowoowhaaaaa, vocoder scat. THIS ISN'T STRAIGHTFORWARD POP AFTERALL! And then when it goes back into it it is with double bombast. NICE. This just sounds way too classic to not be some sort of cover or something. The time machine is running in overdrive. Good job. *
12. "Doin' It Right"
Hmm this isn't what I expected? Or is it? I like this ticking drum beat and how minimal this is so far. And now the full kit comes in. It's like they're trying to set the stage for Noah to come in all tranced out and just do his stuff... I hope they don't give his voice too much effect. Or maybe I do. No idea. This is so hesitant. Haha THERE HE IS, THERE'S MY BOY. This is just perfect, they went for the full Panda Bear sound and it works so well here. Haha the classic Panda chord harmony. Modern day Beach Boy I keep saying it. THIS IS TOO SHORT AAAA. "if you lose your way tonight that's how you know the magic's right" - classic Anco stuff. This transition at 2:30 is nice too. This structure just makes a whole lot of sense even if it isn't too surprising. Really this is about the most standard recipe they could've used for Daft Punk + Panda Bear but the idea is so good that it's fine to just use that. And it works really well as the penultimate track, restating this sort of album thesis of dancing + magic + doing it right etc. *
But then... this! What could this be? Where's this sample from? Is it about a disco ball in space? Haha and then this BIG, BIG, BIG ORGAN. BIG ORGAN. I love big organ. They're taking their time on this one. Gonna make it one to remember. Wow and this arpeggiated synth, the party's launching and wow oh wow this drumming, so precise and yet raw, like... reinventing the Amen Break. Okay maybe that's a bit much. Just boom drums in boom drums out. What's next? Ahh these synths right at the saturation point of the whole sound I love it. And DRUMS AGAIN BABOOOM. This is great, very finale-ey, just raw emotion going into this WOW YES, at 3:20, WOW. WOW. WOW. WWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAA the sound pile doesn't stop from intensifying YES KEEP GOING no way they can't keep this up for another 2 minutes aaaaaaaaaaaa no they can wow no what aaaaaa aa a a a aaaaaaaaaaaa how can it keep getting more intense? HOW? I CAN'T GET ANY MORE EXCITED, OH WAIT, YES I CAN, WOW. BZUZZZZZZZUOOOOOOOOOMMMMMP at 4:50 finally relief but what is next what will emerge from this pit of static and noise and swell oh man what is happening what is going to happen everything is bursting apart oh man tell my family I love them I don't think I'm gonna make it the plane is going down into endless static and noise psheghggsghsghs wow. I did not expect this as an outro. Wow. This was just straight wow. That is a song that needs to be listened to loud. and repeatedly. Same goes for the whole album actually. ***
WELL THAT WAS GREAT
WOW I LOVED THAT. I'm gonna listen to it again! (and probably many more times after that).