Freddie Matthews writes from London: Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo are two of the coolest men on the planet at this moment but who the hell are they?
Random Access Memories is the fourth album by their French band Daft Punk. It’s been a long time in the making as their last album, Human After All, was released almost eight years ago.
The cool element about the band is the comeback single called ‘Get Lucky’. It was co-written by and features Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers. Williams is one half of the production duo The Neptunes. He’s also the vocalist and drummer of the US rock, funk and hip-hop band N.E.R.D. Nile Rodgers is best known as the founding member and guitarist of the disco band Chic and he’s produced and performed with the likes of Diana Ross, David Bowie, Madonna and Duran Duran (I’m not so sure I’d shout about the last one, but anyway!). It’s darn strange that Rodgers has such a key guitar part in the song yet he doesn’t get a credit in the song title while Williams does. Though if you’re a fan of ‘Get Lucky’ then you’re in for a treat with the album version, as it’s over six minutes long!
‘Get Lucky’ was an instant early summer hit all around the world, going to No. 1 in 18 countries worldwide. In its first four weeks of release in the UK alone the song sold over 600,000 copies and is the fastest selling single of the year so far.
Random Access Memories is funk-laden, jazz-like dance electronica. If you like the French band Air, then you will love this. Then again Daft Punk entered the music scene a couple of years before Air were ever around. What I love about RAM is that just when we all thought Daft Punk would return with a purely digital soundscape there are actually live instruments playing here along with the electronic. There’s a genius-like blending going on.
I wasn’t sure about RAM at first because I’d heard a lot of negative feedback but mostly from the kind of people who’re more concerned about the radio/TV edits than the whole album as a piece of work itself. I now realise that their self-centred opinions were total bollocks. Forget what others think and listen to what’s going on between your ears instead.
I believe that RAM is another classic album in the making. Just like Moon Safari by Air, this is an album that will stand the test of the next 10 years. Whether you’re listening while sipping cocktails on an exclusive beach in the Caribbean or on the sofa in the front room of your two up, two down terraced house in East London, RAM just works.
I started writing about each song in some detail, before I thought to myself that I’m just going to suggest that you listen to Random Access Memories yourself and make sure you do it from start to finish. I guarantee you’ll want to listen again and again as it’s a mighty accomplishment, a complete return to form and quite possibly one of the best albums 2013 will offer.
Daft Punk are never going to be mainstream pop but if Random Access Memories was a pie it would be ‘damn fine cherry pie with double cream and chocolate sprinkles’ and you are allowed second and even third helpings!