Daft Punk
Human After All


2.0
poor

Review

by MercuryToHell CONTRIBUTOR (36 Reviews)
June 21st, 2015 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 'I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed in you.'

It’s difficult to review such a maligned piece of work without acknowledging that a large chunk of the disappointment is comparative.
Daft Punk’s first two albums are classic electronic records in their own right, and totally unique from each other – so to expect a repeat performance of either would have been unfair.
And really, would Homework II – Extra Assignments really have been that fulfilling?

That said, from the minute the single cycle began with the catchy-as-hell but ultimately unfulfilling ‘Robot Rock’ just over 10 years ago, there was something off about Daft Punk, an idea that maybe they were resting on their laurels.
This reviewer, dear readers, was filled with dread.

And so it turns out, Human After All is a joyless, grey trudge through 10 motifs – no more, no less.
There are no moments of glorious pop euphoria, there are no skillful sample-based hooks, there is no charming narrative with twists and turns.

Take ‘Nightvision’ off the Discovery album as an example – the track was short, subdued and didn’t warrant attention, and at face value it was disappointing in its repetition. But then taken in the context of the album, and in particular the brilliant video cycle, it made perfect sense where it was.
The obvious comparison on this album is ‘Emotion’ – another slightly muddy synth following a minor chord progression. But here, there is no context in which this idea fits.
That an act as revered and talented as Daft Punk could turn this 3-second motif into a 7-minute drone to close out an album is baffling, and bordering on the offensive.

Another example of this ‘philosophy’ is on the track ‘Make Love’. Undeniably, this is a smooth hook, with honey-sweet guitar delicately riding over a fuzzy piano loop. But is 5 minutes of this idea with ZERO variation worthy of status as an album track?
You wrote 'Digital Love', for crying out loud, and made it shorter than this!

What hurts is that the Daft Punk of old would take these ideas, morph and manipulate them, and use them as foundations for tracks that would swell and drop, ride dizzying waves and satisfy from beginning to end.
The 2005 version is happy to copy, paste, and make do. How very human, after all…

While these tracks serve to highlight the downfall of this record, they aren’t ‘worst offenders’ or anything like that – I can’t pinpoint specific disappointments because the same lazy prolonging exercises plague every single track here.
The songs on offer are, at best, B-side material, maybe a collection of unexplored ideas that never made it to a full release that could get revisited in later years.
But that this will sit alongside ‘Homework’ and ‘Discovery’ (and now, ‘Random Access Memories’) in the full catalogue of studio albums feels like an affront to the Daft Punk legacy.

As much as the bulk of this review would suggest otherwise, the record is not wholly without promise.
‘The Brainwasher’, for example, sounds like the pair had been listening to Aphex Twin’s ‘Come To Daddy’ and decided between themselves (in French, of course) that they want to make a version that would work on the radio – and it’s fun, in a pseudo-threatening kind of way.
‘Technologic’ is probably the closest this record comes to a full song, and it’s a real earworm. It feels somewhat telling that it’s welcome extends far further than that of the album as a whole – although it could still use a little bit more layering and space-filling.
And the aforementioned lead single displays so much swagger, it at the very least demands an acknowledging head-bob.

With this being a Daft Punk record, also the production is top-notch. The synths are crisp and meticulously crafted, complete with every static hiss or studio imperfection. The basslines, too, are warm and clean, and work seamlessly against the percussion to fill out the sound to perfection.

It’s just a shame they didn’t get round to writing any songs.



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user ratings (925)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2015


1181 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

So, here's one I didn't like.

There's only so much positivity I can share without feeling sick of the sugar.

Feedback always appreciated, hopefully there's improvement from my last entries.

Thanks!

Tunaboy45
June 21st 2015


14790 Comments


Great review, probably their least interesting album

Digging: At the Drive-In - in?ter a?li?a

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2015


1181 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

And for a Daft Punk record to fail to be interesting is almost an achievement - I just wish it sounded like they gave a shit on this album...

KrazyKris
June 21st 2015


2749 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Actually I find the more spontaneous approach not too bad, at least I wouldn't say it's that much worse than Discovery.



Picked the right tracks as standouts btw.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2015


1181 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Don't get me wrong, if some of the themes on this record had been either expanded upon or just put out as B-sides, they would have resonated absolutely fine with me, I just see it as such a mark down from the previous two.

But then Discovery is a 5 from me...

KrazyKris
June 21st 2015


2749 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's annoyingly repetitive most of the time for sure. Although The Brainwasher shows what it could have been even without much variation: a raw, aggressive LP. Most of the tracks are just too slow and long.

I just don't get the praise for Discovery in comparison. It's thought through and has definitely more to offer, but it is a questionable mess at times, especially in the second half.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2015


1181 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I wouldn't say it's messy at all, I think that the repetition does grate on some listeners, but I found great flow in every song, although I think listening to it as a whole was a fairly new thing to me growing up as I used to obsess on singles.

It may be nostalgia as much as genuinely believing it's a perfect record, but I still get a huge kick out of it 14 years later.



KrazyKris
June 21st 2015


2749 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The first half is damn great. Not perfect, but even with the misplaced Night Vision there's a great flow and their perfectionism and precision works damn well on those tunes.

But the second half doesn't make sense to me at all. Plus, there's only Face To Face as a real standout track for me. Voyager and Too Long aren't bad, but they have quite obvious flaws in my eyes and the rest is rather difficult.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2015


1181 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The end to Short Circuit really bugged me for quite a while, but I think disengaging from it is part of the experience!

That's what I tell myself, anyway, I refuse to believe the album is flawed!

Gard3n
June 21st 2015


439 Comments


Yeah, album is weak but the last 3 tracks end it quite well IMO.

Tunaboy45
June 21st 2015


14790 Comments


Discovery and Homework are bona fide classics.

Ocean of Noise
June 21st 2015


8938 Comments


Great review dude, have a pos. I haven't heard this.

Digging: Camel - Mirage

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2015


1181 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I always like to pretend it doesn't exist really.

As someone who also loved RAM, it seems mindless to me that this even comes close to stacking up against ANY of their other albums...

ParanoidAndroid96
June 21st 2015


1389 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this album has always sounded so cold to me compared to their other releases

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2015


1181 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Agreed - even the comparative warmth of 'Make Love' + 'Emotion' just seem really hollow and meaningless when they could have been put to much better use.



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