Movers & Shakers
The People's Score
Said high points on the record are usually followed by more laid-back, introspective, melancholy ones, such as the piano-led “Within” which follows “Giorgio by Moroder”. It’s a good song on its own, useless as a single but a competent album track to carry you through the next section while you’re still buzzing off the last song. This isn’t a collection of 13 perfect tracks, but if it were, it wouldn’t have made a perfect 75 minutes. In putting RAM together, Daft Punk were clearly aware of how to balance the album’s strengths; otherwise, the power of songs like “Touch” and “Contact” would have been diminished. Having said that, there isn’t a bad song here, and every track equates to a quality level of at least ‘very good’.
It all really boils down to the opener “Give Life Back To Music”, which like all great opening tracks sets the tone and sums up the entire album, serving as Random Access Memories‘ mission statement with its titular declaration and its whirlwind of instruments. Daft Punk have set out to make an actual album of dance music that strides over the pitfalls opened up by Human After All and gives today’s sterile mainstream a shot of vitality. And it’s fair to say that they have. The album is a trip it navigates emotional highs and lows with astounding finesse, whereas their previous best, Discovery, started high, swooped down and then rose slightly at the end. And while there were more party-suitable tracks on the 2001 album than just “Get Lucky”, that clearly isn’t the point this time around.
There’s an impressive degree of progression in these tracks, such as in Touch, which evolves and permutates from piano-based, wistful reminiscences through a funky dancefloor uplift to an achingly gorgeous orchestra and choir-led elegy without sounding forced or jarred in the slightest. The record is littered with enough subtly arresting moments to keep it alive and guarantee enjoyment on every spin, such as the Giorgio Moroder interview that comes on like a Spotify advert, the bowel-shifting drums that kick-start “Lose Yourself to Dance”, the cool-yet-ecstatic vocoder section in “Get Lucky” and the disarming minimalism of “Doin’ it Right”.
The sad thing is that the album’s ambition is the flag that crowns the Daft Punk mountain. It’s what their career has been building up to, and the success of Random Access Memories is going to be hard to match or outdo without the next album completely imploding on itself. RAM is a galactic fusion of genres and ethnicities, a seamless collage of the 70s and 80s and then the sounds of the future. It has flaws, but these flaws are just breathing spaces for the astonishing levels of excellence this album achieves. It’s an eternal record that defines the possibilities available to those who really push themselves in music. By listening to Random Access Memories, you’re witnessing the greatest moment of Daft Punk’s career.
Originally posted at: http://thepeopleunderneath.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/daft-punk-random-access-memories/… Read More »