Sep 02, 2013 04:46pm
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories doesn't hold up
May 25, 2013 - 8:18pm

House’s dynamic duo fall short of a cohesive album, but your groove thang will be happy.


“Random Access Memories” is as random as the name implies; a smattering of tracks stretching for 74 minutes makes this album a challenge for non fans to listen to from cover to cover.

As a set of individual songs, Daft Punk’s new album stands up to scrutiny and dances in its face, but as a collective album the duo isn’t quite there.

Less ear infectious than their critically acclaimed “Discovery,” this new album strips a lot of the variety from their previous work and settles into a formula that’s tried and true.

You’ve heard the major scale melodies before and you may have heard the new single “Get Lucky.” If you have, then there aren’t any surprises here. Appearances from Julian Casablancas, Panda Bear and others don’t break up the album too much.

The album gets a little thin in the middle and the track “Lose Yourself to Dance” gets old fast. I was a really big fan of the album’s closing track “Contact,” which exploded and ended the album with a real bang.

The sounds here are stripped down a little from previous work and the album doesn’t slow down or speed up as much as “Discovery.” Some of my favorite moments of this album are slow parts where the vocoders are put away and piano comes in for a few seconds, or a smooth jazz guitar slides around in the background during an instrumental break.

Daft Punk’s albums typically have excellent pacing to them, but I’m not seeing that here. I’m also not a fan of the skit-like intro of the third track. I do feel that these individual songs will be great to dance to, and in the end, that’s what counts here.

The third act really picks things up for me and I would have liked to see some more of that throughout. My biggest complaint, though, is that when I have an hour and a half of material to listen to, I like to have more movement in between parts, like in a story.

Instead of a story, this album serves as a collection of songs. Some songs are good, some aren’t so good. “Random Access Memories” will be polarizing, and while it’s still Daft Punk, it’s a new and different direction for the band. Some fans may take it well and some may not. I’m undecided.


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