By ikabubu 0 Comments
This is not a dance album.
This is arguably not an entirely dance-able album.
This is a divisive album, and it will, no doubt, alienate those who came with certain expectations.
But Daft Punk isn't a stranger to alienating their fans.
When they unleashed Homework to the world, it had a fresh playfulness, naïveté, and funk. I didn't initially come to Daft Punk through their first album, but I have acquired a taste and appreciation for it. For sometimes it is hard to see the impact in retrospect, and all I can do is retrace the evolution without having witnessed the revolution.
When they released Discovery, they have been quoted in an interview alongside Reiji Matsumoto that: they wanted to capture that sense of magic and wonder of discovering music for the first time. Perhaps this form of naïveté was also seen as a way of "turning pop." But Discovery did have a sense of wide-eyed appeal that won the hearts and minds of many, including yours-truly. Perhaps... it actually did understand that magical moment that much, if not all, of pop music has forgotten but misguidedly strives towards.
When they released Human After All, Daft Punk traded their approachability with a maudlin sense of "robot punk." Thematically different from Discovery, it represented, in my mind, the flip-side of Daft Punk's electronic sound. If Discovery was it's soul, then (the ironically named) Human After All was the machine. Together, they formed the myth of Daft Punk's synthetic soul, but still placing them as mainstays of electronic music and dancefloors everywhere. This sound, however, was not for everybody. Human After All, too, suffered from it's own lulls of electronic hallucinations that were full of itself at times.
When they released Random Access Memories... I was a little disappointed. I was sure I couldn't possibly be the only one.
But first, a question: Why?
Why would a fan be disappointed?
Because it isn't an electronic album? Because this is their "quietest" album? Because they dared to do something different?
Yes, yes, and yes. That it was for me, initially.
Was it possible, for , to let go of those expectations? Was it possible for me to objectively see the merits of the album by itself?
Was it possible for me to stop asking , and, instead, discover it was they were trying to do with Random Access Memories? was their vision?
Daft Punk wasn't going to do what I wanted them to do. Daft Punk was going to do what they wanted to do. As quoted from their 2007 interview with Pete Tong: "they're just two kids playing."
It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge two things.
First, I profess and preach about loving a very old-school electronic sound. For all of current pop-culture's obsession with EDM, Dubstep, or whatever-the-hell-it-is-kids-listen-to-these-days, I am in my little corner, telling anyone who's willing to listen that: electronic music is more than just Techno. More than just Dubstep. More than just Eurotrash.More than just Trance. More than just these preconceived genres. I would tell people that I was a fan of StarDone, Russ Chimes, Cherokee, Hana Yori Kichou Na. That genres like French House, Valerie, and Acid House were real.
Daft Punk's homage to an older sound is not the issue for me. That couldn't be farther from the truth. That couldn't, shouldn't, wouldn't be a reason for me not to, at least, give this a chance.
Second, I consider myself a modest artist. Not with music, but with my pencil. I would draw people, animals, figures, robots, spaceships, etc. Anything with a singular entity as a focus. Looking back at my past work, I realized that I didn't want to be typecast with a singular style. I wanted to expand. I wanted to draw landscapes. I wanted to draw scenes. I wanted to draw spaces that elicited ideas and, perhaps, emotions. I wanted something more; something different. I wanted a varied legacy. A legacy that showed that I could do more...
...and that's when I understood.
Whether or not that is what Daft Punk was directly trying to do, I captured a glimpse of why any artist would dare to do differently from before.
Qui audet adipiscitur
Fans waited 8 years with bated breath to dance again, but that isn't what we got. We came to Random Access Memories hoping for more electronic positivity, but we came away with some emotional pieces. isn't a happy song. It is a morose journey, a dip in the rollercoaster ride, before we hit a crescent with . With the possibility of somber tones, a greater range is possible, a better overall experience, but not all of it is for the clubs. I've even acquired a preference to the original Lose Yourself To Dance. The fake teaser is akin to candy. It was sweet and instantly gratifying. The original song is a more controlled build-up, which I now consider the more refined song. Random Access Memories isn't about making dance-hits. It's an actual ride that's not afraid to slow-down to show you something... different. Something that is a little more contemplative. Something that you could... feel. Something... you weren't expecting from Daft Punk.
Daft Punk applied their synthetic soul to something different. Modernizing it enough to make it palatable, imprinting their signature electronics to make it their own, but, ultimately, a homage.
This was all done at the expense of being a dance album.
And it sure isn't.
I never expected this album to grow so much on me, so fast in these few short hours.
If you disagree, then walk away now.
But know this:
This is not a defense nor a review. You have just read my personal journey of thought and transformation of my opinion regarding Random Access Memories.
This isn't a a dance album, and I have come to love it.