I first discovered this album through some of my stoner type friends from high school. We all heard (and were pissed off by) "Around the World" while in middle school, so when I heard that they were all way into this French duo, I was surprised. After hearing the song "Aerodynamic" I was instant convert. Taking the band with me to college, it ended up complementing the more bacchanalian, fraternity-like lifestyle of college. My friends there, most of them being athletes from New England who liked Dave Matthews or Phish, instantly glommed onto the fun style of Daft Punk. What makes this albums so much fun? There is indeed some supernatural element at work. It's an x-factor that can incite the most languid stoner, and make the whitest WASP break out dancing in his room while people were laughing at me from the hallway.
This album is a pop album. I'm not very educated on electronica subgenres, but I have a sense of the different influences happening. These are mostly dance songs. There is an inclusion of smooth jazz, rock guitar solos, and even new wave, but at the heart, Daft Punk writes pop dance that has a heavy electronica/dance skew. It's a sense of all these different influences that brings the style such success too. "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," aside from its lyrics, could be a song in one of those workout infomercials from late night paid programming, or the next "Call on Me." "Aerodynamic" has a triplet section that hearkens back to Van Halen inspired guitar tapping that is found in a lot of modern metal. "Something About Us" plays like a slow jam and would fit in on BET's love grooves or whatever crap they play. This album is a diverse dance party under the guise of being more homogeneous and catchy than it should be. God dam
n is it catchy, too. Not only does it attract a wide audience of people with its successful style blending, but the songs are inherently catchy. Like I mentioned earlier, even the whitest people feel like drinking Hypnotiq and dancing with these songs.
Each song is distinct, by genre, as well as by the fragments and motifs that make the songs great. "Crescendolis" has little spatterings of DJ scratching, disco sampling, and even these weird crew vocals in the background to provide an upbeat wacky feel to the song. "Something About Us" has a simple piano line, wah pedals, and a sexed out bass line to complement the simple mixolidian melodies. The perfectly chosen inclusion of certain samples and instruments at different moments is amazing to behold, or just freak out to.
The two most important of these instrumental choices are the general use of the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocoder]vocoder[/url] and guitar solos. This album is completely synthetic so to produce vocals, or a more rock themed song, Daft Punk had to use electronic versions of the natural sound of a voice or guitar. While normally this would make a band robotic and stale, Daft Punk thrives on the sillyness of the robotic. They know that they sound goofy and embrace that. On certain songs, the vocoder will be singing a vocal line and merge that into a guitar line. On the chorus of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" the vocoder singer "Harder, Better, Stronger, Faster / Har...*guitar with wah effect*" On another part of the song, a plain verse vocal suddenly shifts to a metal guitar tapping solo. Though hard to describe in a review, I hope you get the idea of the frivolity of these shifts. They fun and add to the catchiness of the album. These moments though manage to be tasteful as well. It's not like hearing whistles or dogs barking in a DMX song, or synthesizer in one of those annoying throwback, retro indie bands that are ripping off Interpol and trying to live off the success of the 80s. These moments make the catchiness last beyond initial shock appeal. The vocoder is the perfect employment of such a technique. The other point I mentioned earlier, guitar solos, rule. It's great to hear rock and roll projected onto dance. It's like genre synesthesia. The best moments of guitar are on "Aerodynamic" and "Digital Love." Both feature some face melting stuff. The solo on "Digital Love" is particularly impractical because at some points there is electronic precision for huge, speedy ascents that a human would never execute perfectly, but that makes it all the more fun. Once again, the ridiculous mixes with the simplistic dance rubric to produce an amazingly catchy and fun result.
All in all, a solid album. It's one of the few that has a lasting catchiness, which itself seems to be an oxymoron. Enjoy drunk, stoned, or sober.
|other reviews of this album|
Kirk Bowman (5)
Disco, house and pop combined into something unexpectedly forward-thinking that the world ...
Matthew Dreany (5)
Jack G. (5)
This cemented Daft Punk as electronic virtuosos that will influence people for generations...
Techno done right...
Freddy Thomas (5)
A dance/electronica album that literally takes the breath away, & leaves you with somethin...
Music made by robots that is more deft than daft...
Discovery...and nothing short of it....
Great review DFelon. I know you hate mine but I have to admit, this was great. Ha, I love your closing line... :thumb:
Heh.This Message Edited On 03.11.06
Album Rating: 3.5
I really really really like the first four tracks, and "Something About Us"
I like the whole thing but I do agree, the first four tracks and the money-makers here. All are great, but "Digital Love" just makes me be like "how i could just kill a man." You know?
They just constructed them digitally. Programmed it. They're pretty sensational and moving for being completely contrived.
[quote=beyondtheblueprint]Great review DFelon. I know you hate mine but I have to admit, this was great. Ha, I love your closing line... [/quote]
Thanks Mr. Top 15 Dylan
Album Rating: 3.0
On Human After All they actually play the guitar parts themselves.
Of course, that's why the music is a couple of steps down from this.
Great CD, good review.
Why did Around the World piss you off? That's a great song!
[quote= DFelon204409]Daft Punk had to use electronic versions of the natural sound of a voice or guitar[/quote]
Unfortunately this is wrong. Actually I know a guy that was most of the time in studio with them during this album (he sold them some synthesizers and stuff) and they did play it on a real guitar, no samples. At least when talking about the solos in Aerodynamic and in Digital Love. These two also happen to be the tracks I listen to mostly. And by the way, good review.
Whoa marshmellow, I didn't know that. Maybe they wrote them on the actual instruments, but if I've heard any music in my day, I'm pretty sure that if those parts aren't completely synthesized, then they've been doctored. I can imagine the "Aerodynamic" stuff being natural but the inflexions on "Digital Love" sound synthesized. That's just by my ear though. If you have insider info then I'll believe you.
Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off
The song "One more Time" made me want to gouge my ear drums back in the day.
But this actually is a good album.
The first singles from every album are the worst. They're the most straight forward and noxious.
Well, he told me it was played by guitar while he was present in the studio. He also explained how they got the sound for "Aerodynamic", maybe I could ask him again, I don't know the details any more. But this will take some time...
My guess would be, they played it naturally and did some work on it after that digitally. Maybe also speed it up, whatever.
I'd really appreciate that info. Thanks.
Not immaculately though. Also, there's a consistency to the modulation on the tone that wouldn't be reproduced by natural playing.
Album Rating: 4.0
i dont really like the electronic type of music, but daft punk is the rare exception. i like their work, and its good music to listen to
Album Rating: 5.0
Great album. Everything i listen to settles around the genres of rock, indie and metal, but Daft Punk are an exception. Is anyone familiar with Interstella 5555 the DVD anime movie of this album? I've seen it in shops, but i'm reluctant to buy it.This Message Edited On 09.02.05
Album Rating: 5.0
I agree totally with your review. Does anyone agree that the album has a genuine narrative feel to it, because the placement of the songs have an excellent flowThis Message Edited On 09.02.05
I agree I agree! I will probably just download the video. I've heard about it from a thread I made in the other music forum. It's supposed to be cool. Not like Dark Side of the Moon mixed with "The Wizard of Oz" cool but pretty good.
Album Rating: 5.0
Awesome, i've never quite tried the "Dark Side of Oz" experiment, but the videos I've seen of "Aerodynamic" and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" are excellent so it would be worth it.
Album Rating: 5.0
Meh, Daft Punk's other albums are nothing compared to thisThis Message Edited On 09.02.05