Reviews

Daft Punk “Random Access Memories” (10th Anniversary Edition) Album Review

Random Access Memories (10th Anniversary Edition)

Daft Punk

  • Genre: Dance
  • Date: 12 May, 2023
  • Content: Not-explicit
  • Region: NGA
  • Track(s): 22
  • ℗ 2023 Daft Life Limited under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

After an agonizing eight-year wait, the world was rightfully anticipating big things from Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo’s follow-up to their 2005 album. However, from the time “Get Lucky” was teased in two 15-second spots on a 2013 episode of Saturday Night Live, it was evident that this wouldn’t be a typical Daft Punk record – if such a thing existed.

With cameos from Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, Panda Bear, Paul Williams, and long-time collaborator Todd Edwards, “Random Access Memories” blessed the world. This was to be their sole studio album, and in terms of its lush production and cast of guest contributors, it still sounds unlike anything else by Daft Punk, or any other artist, even a decade later. Gone was the dependence on electronics for warmer, more organic sounds and textures.

Album Cover Art

Daft Punk &Quot;Random Access Memories&Quot; (10Th Anniversary Edition) Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, December 1, 2023

“Showing their faces” is a relative term when discussing Daft Punk. Their actual faces are hidden under their helmets. Still, their robot helmets are inseparably linked to their public personas; they can therefore be compared to having physical looks. The dark background and split faces drew inspiration from the cover image for their single “Harder Better Faster Stronger,” released in 2001.

Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo’s brand recognition extends beyond their names at this point in their careers since they are so instantly recognizable. The helmets speak every word.

Tracks and Features

“Give Life Back To Music,” the album’s opening track, is performed as “GLBTM,” a funky mashup of piano and orchestral instruments that gradually develops into a full-fledged Chic-esque groove that lasts about two minutes longer than the album cut but is all the better for it. In “GL,” “Get Lucky” is given a 30-second alternate rendition that sounds like it was played on a Wurlitzer, while “LYTD” revamps the Pharrell-fronted song ‘Lose Yourself To Dance’ to feature the duo’s signature robot vocals and new lyrics.

The robots and Julian Casablancas reunite for the slow reflective jam “Infinity Repeating” and “Prime,” a stirring instrumental demo that spans pulsating synths, strings, and disco beats throughout more than four and a half minutes and feels like an intriguing scrapbook of musical ideas, is heavily influenced by Tron: Legacy.

The listener is given a documentary-style view of the recording sessions in “The Writing of Fragments of Time,” which offers an even deeper look behind the scenes. Over the song’s instrumental, Thomas Bangalter and Todd Edwards converse and improvise vocally while they write the lyrics and melody. While it isn’t a filler, it’s fascinating to learn about the creative process of such a secretive group.

Finally, a different take on “Touch” isolates the individual components of the Paul Williams-fronted song, keeping the whirling synths and sweeping orchestral strings but replacing the vocal with a solo, choral interpretation of the chorus, “Hold on, if love is the answer you’re home.” Unfortunately, it uses the same edit that preceded “Epilogue,” giving the impression that it’s somewhat of a swansong. Yet, even without the visuals, it’s still so moving.

Tracklist

NOTITLEARTIST
1Give Life Back to MusicDaft Punk
2The Game of LoveDaft Punk
3Giorgio by MoroderDaft Punk
4WithinDaft Punk
5Instant CrushDaft Punk & Julian Casablancas
6Lose Yourself to DanceDaft Punk & Pharrell Williams
7TouchDaft Punk & Paul Williams
8Get LuckyDaft Punk, Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers
9BeyondDaft Punk
10MotherboardDaft Punk
11Fragments of TimeDaft Punk & Todd Edwards
12Doin’ it RightDaft Punk & Panda Bear
13ContactDaft Punk
14Horizon OuvertureDaft Punk
15Horizon (Japan CD)Daft Punk
16GLBTM (Studio Outtakes)Daft Punk
17Infinity Repeating (2013 Demo)Daft Punk, Julian Casablancas & The Voidz
18GL (Early Take)Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers
19Prime (2012 Unfinished)Daft Punk
20LYTD (Vocoder Tests)Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams
21The Writing of Fragments of TimeDaft Punk & Todd Edwards
22Touch (2021 Epilogue)Daft Punk & Paul Williams

Album Theme

This feels like a heartfelt eulogy for a musical force that had us guessing for nearly three decades, even though it is only a collection of demos and offcuts. But, unfortunately, most of us don’t recognize or love this Daft Punk. The duo’s latest edition is shabby and experimental, which adds to its allure.

It’s still difficult to accept that we might never hear or see anything like them again, but we should all be thankful if the machines are now okay with us hearing their human side.

Production Credits

Daft Punk, DJ Falcon, Julian Casablancas & Todd Edwards produced the album.

Stream

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