Daft Punk
Random Access Memories


3.0
good

Review

by Minus. USER (5 Reviews)
June 10th, 2013 | 10 replies


Release Date: 05/17/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dad Funk

From a production standpoint, Random Access Memories sounds phenomenal. It's music as a gourmet lollipop. Total ear candy. An audiophile's best friend. What more could one ask for? What indeed...

First, how about something new? Daft Punk explored very similar sounds on their 2001 masterpiece "Discovery." Back then, their shift from underground house and techno stylings to a vibrant hybrid of "uncool" sounds from 70's and 80's AM radio was not only novel, it took guts to pull off. Now, two proper albums and twelve years later, DP are falling backward rather than pushing their music forward. Even worse, what really sets RAM apart from Discovery is the extent to which it slavishly imitates its influences rather than forge something new and identifiably D-Punkian. If you're already stocked up on Chic and Earth, Wind & Fire records and still can't get enough of those grooves, by all means enjoy the feast that awaits you here. But if not, you're better off getting the originals rather than the comparably tame knock-offs. For instance, "Get Lucky" and "Lose Yourself to Dance" both feature some classic funky licks from Chic's Nile Rogers, not to mention singer Pharrell Williams' best impersonation of EW&F. The songs are close to being a perfect fusion of the two bands, and yet Pharrell's voice sounds thin and forced compared to the smooth disco legends of yore, and his lyrics are just embarrassing. Plus, nowhere in the songs do the personality of its creators (remember, Daft Punk?) really pop out. Discovery is more than a decade old now, and it still sounds fresher than this one. So does "Moon Safari," the 1998 album by Air. You know, that other French electronic duo who fused M.O.R. music from similar eras into a sound that the loungier tracks of R.A.M. come very close to duplicating---but alas, not quite.

Second, how about something with a little more life to it? Even if you just want to ape your childhood heroes, at least do it with abandon. So much of this record feels safe, predictable, over-calculated, and bloodless. The lyrics are mind-numbingly superficial, cliche disco or ballad boilerplate. Don't get me wrong, Homework and Discovery weren't deep either, but their mish-mash of styles were more inspired, often transcendent. By comparison, this can be ponderous, stodgy, even a bit preachy in its promotion of pop's past. Judging from the promotional features, it seemed as if Daft Punk were nursing some high ambitions with this record, and yet it's the most conservative thing I've heard in some time. Worse, it's completely guarded: these fuddy-duddies hiding in Robo helmets have obscured their own personalities within their perfected replication of bygone eras. Kraftwerk sounds more expressive than this, and they were trying really hard to keep the robot thing up! Bangalter and de Homem-Christo, on the other hand, obsessing over the sonic details of their musical wax museum, have left all of the human touches to their guests. Ultimately, the Robots only care to give us a well-crafted dance "product," a rich gourmet lollipop (with authentic nostalgia flavor!), a classy alternative to Skrillex, and hope we don't crave something more substantial.

Some will be perfectly fine with this luxury confection. They'll eat it up without a second thought. Me, I'll pare this down to the eight best songs (i.e., the ones that aren't completely boring), and have a grooving, non-intrusive soundtrack to spreadsheet maintenance and household chores. One for the ages...


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Comments:Add a Comment 
oltnabrick
June 9th 2013


31157 Comments


haha cool

Digging: Dean Blunt - Black Metal

oltnabrick
June 9th 2013


31157 Comments


a classy alternative to Skrillex


lol what

RadicalEd
June 10th 2013


2712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Exactly what I thought about the album. Except maybe that skillrex comment.

Digging: Jakob - Sines

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 10th 2013


31398 Comments


It's clearly a comment relating to this album being a counterpoint to the whole edm revolution, which is kind of poetic given that Rolling Stone and the like were hyping this as the quintessential edm release prior to it coming out

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

RadicalEd
June 10th 2013


2712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If you say so I guess that comment is fine.. I didn't really follow the whole hype.

RadicalEd
June 10th 2013


2712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Arent you a total metalhead? Why do you even give a fuck about daft punk xD

Azn.
June 10th 2013


5615 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

was gonna neg for the skrillex comparison

then you called it a "luxury confection"

pos, great review

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2013


7137 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I agree with this review (really liked it) except that I find both Pharrell tracks to be pretty infectious and solid. Actually I suppose it's more that they are just somewhat infectious but by comparison with the surrounding tracks they're great.

I keep listening to this expecting it to grow on me as it supposedly did for some people but the more I listen the more I realize Doin It Right is the only thing I really care about on here, and that's riding almost entirely on Panda Bear's charming vocal performance - and even then it's such a simple track.

Some of the stuff on here is so fucking boring, and the unwarranted, ridiculous length of the album makes it such a chore to get through. It hardly even gets decent until the 6th track.

Minus.
June 12th 2013


2680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album was a wasted opportunity

xxm
January 27th 2014


211 Comments


I love this album but nice review man.



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