For years now Daft punk have be churning up dance-pop hit after dance-pop hit. Their playful pop melodies have earned them a place in the modern day pop scene, while they have still managed to keep respect in some parts of the electronic music scene. They have gone from hit to hit over the years with singles such as Da Funk
, Around The World
and One More Time
all receiving tremendous accolades in both the pop culture scene and the dance music scene.
It has been a long wait for their new album to come out, with diehard fans having to wait around 4 years between each album. With such a long wait between albums, it is no wonder that the expectations for Human After All
were very high. To release a bad album could result in killing their fan base, to release an average album would result in a very disappointed fan base. The fans expected nothing less than musical perfection for their 3rd album (4th including Alive 1997
). So when fans heard that the duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo
and Thomas Bangalter
were trying to create an album in as short amount of time as possible, it was natural for fans to feel they were being a bit cheated.
Every album seems to get leaked before its release these days, and Human After All
was no different. Human After All
was leaked to the internet a few weeks before its release. However, funny as it may sound. Most fans did not believe that it was actually Human After All, many fans warned others not to download the leak because it was a fake. They proclaimed it sounded too cheap and dirty to be the real thing, and that the sound just did not fit Daft Punk at all. Little did they know, they were listening to the real thing.
The album starts off in typical Daft Punk fashion, Human After All
the track of the same name as the album is exactly what you would expect from Daft Punk. The song starts off with a simple drum pattern that repeats itself throughout the song, while a hooking voice sample saying what sounds like 'Yeaah-ah' mixed with a Vocoder and a Synthesizer is played in various forms over the track, while changing tone and gain subtly over the course of the track. This is all mixed in with catchy synth notes, and an irresistible voice humming and singing. All the parts put together make for an insatiable effect, leaving you wanting more and more every time you listen to it. Human After All
is one of those rare Dance tracks that you will love straight away, and will keep finding things to like about it with every repeated play. The song also ties into the ideas and feel of the whole album, creating a very robotic effect, while countering with lyrics like 'We are Human After All'. Although the themes involved in the song are not instantly clear, they begin to reveal themselves as the album progresses. Human After All
really does set a very high standard for the rest of the album.
Following on from that is the song The Prime Time Of Your Life
which contains a number of familiar Daft Punk sounds. The song starts off promising, just like almost every other Daft Punk song, but soon turns into an annoying grinding sound. Although rhythmic and slightly interesting on the first few listens, it soon just turns into a grinding, headache inducing affair that speeds up towards the end of the song. Until at the end it just becomes the sound of a motorbike. To some it may be considered musical experimentation, to me it just sounds like Daft Punk have gotten a bit bored and decided to play around with their artistic crowd. Following on from that is the rather catchy first single, Robot Rock
. The Drum intro, although incredibly simplistic is rather catchy, and when the synthesized guitar comes in, the song really starts getting its groove on. The song maintains a steady repetitive riff and beat with a few fillers. The vocals are once again Robot-esque, and help add to the overall ideas of the album. Every single note and beat in the song sounds as if it is saying 'Rock, Robot Rock', as if the song is trying to drill into your head a subliminal message. Many will consider Robot Rock
overly-repetitive and annoying. Others may find a lust for the song, and its strangely catchy rhythm, that although annoying in nature, is also very rewarding to listen to.
The other very robotic tracks on the album, Technologic
, Steam Machine
, Television Rules the Nation
and The Brainwasher
all contain their ups and downs. To say they're not repetitive would be a lie, to dismiss this repetitiveness as something insignificant would be absurd. The overly-repetitive nature does take a lot of the enjoyment out of the songs, not so much on the first few listens. But further down the road, can cause a fair bit of annoyance. These tracks however feature a number of catchy and addictive features. Television Rules the Nation
with its droning voice and sweeping Synth sounds is one highlight on the album. The vocals repeating 'Television Rules the Nation' may not be very creative, but they help create a very gloomy vibe, and reflect very well on the lyrics and their meaning. Once again pushing the message that we are slowly becoming more routine in our nature, more demanding of ourselves, less human. All of the songs mentioned in this paragraph have their faults, all of them far too repetitive. Only Technologic
and Television Rules the Nation
avoid becoming too repetitive, but only just.
Human After All
is not just a big robotic synth fest, the album features two more romantic tunes, aptly titled Make Love
. Both are very dissimilar to Daft Punk's previous romantic outings like Nightvision
and Digital Love
. They have more of a relaxed feeling and a rougher unpolished sound, which although common in the other songs, is very evident in Make Love
. Neither of the songs manage to stir much emotion despite their overwhelming potential. Both just seem to fall up a bit short to be up to the high standard set by Daft Punk's previous outings.
The robotic themes that are so prevalent throughout the album, slowly unravel in a very clever manner. With every song more depth is added to the message, culminating in an overall message of increasingly robotic lifestyle. We are slowly becoming more robotic, a nation glued to the television screen, going about our daily routines in a bland lifestyle. Perhaps the overly repetitive nature of Human After All
is a message to the dance music, that they are slowly becoming more robotic and more repetitive; creating a new genre, Robot Rock. Or perhaps Daft Punk does not have a message in this album, and that they just wanted to create an album about robots.
As an album Human After All
falls short of its predecessors in almost every area. Daft Punk bit off more than it could chew with this album, they simply tried to do too much in too little time. How they recorded an electronic album in a matter of a couple of weeks is beyond me, but the areas they skimmed over are clearly lacking. It is because of these weak parts that Human After All
just does not quite deliver as you would expect it to. Some of the songs are absolutely brilliant and riveting (Human After All
, Robot Rock
, Television Rules The Nation
). While others are clearly lacking and just sound like they were put in to increase the albums length from that of an EP to a full length album (On/Off
, The Prime Time of Your Life
). The repetitive and innocent nature that Daft Punk songs possess show up in all of the songs on this album, however only in a few songs does Daft Punk prevent the songs from becoming overly-repetitive. This leaves Human After All
feeling like an above average effort, nothing spectacular. For diehard Daft Punk fans this rushed effort will be a major disappointment, for casual listeners Human After All
will be another above average CD to add to their collection.
As they say, sometimes it is necessary to take a step backwards in order to continue to progress in the future. Let us hope that Human After All
is the step backwards.