Average User Score: 8.1May 22, 2013Random Access Memories is a stratospheric record. And I highlight the word record, because that’s exactly what it is, and is also what few mainstream releases in 2013 especially in dance music can feasibly call themselves. It plays in a natural progression, constantly aware of its own momentum and taking every step necessary to keeping itself thriving. You’ve probably heard of its incredible roster of musicians Nile Rodgers, Panda Bear, Pharrell Williams, Julian Casablancas etc. who are all there to humanize Daft Punk’s highly polished, fantastically produced sound. Simply put, it’s nothing less than the Stankonia of EDM. The session musicians also help to expand DP’s horizons to regions of quality they’ve previously been unable to attain.
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.
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.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3May 10, 2013Nothing essential, but if, like me, you enjoy going on long walks when it's sunny, or sitting in the garden with a cold beer, then this is the perfect soundtrack. Hits its stride in the middle, so if you're not particularly enamoured by the first third of the album, don't be put off. It's got that whole summer-of-love sound going on, and Deschanel proves herself to be much more than that actress trying her hand at music; she sounds completely at home against M. Ward's sunny backdrop. So basically it's like a 2013 version of Allo Darlin's 'Europe' except not quite as good. But if you've got nothing better to do one afternoon this summer, stick this on it's what it was made for.… Expand