|Every Daft Punk Song Ranked|
All the songs (studio albums only) by French House duo Daft Punk Ranked
(WORK IN PROGRESS)
One of the more 80s indebted tracks on RAM, Instant Crush is more of a Julian Casablancas solo track than a Daft Punk song, fusing a steady dance rock beat and layers of crisp 80s pop synths. While Casablancas’ vocals border on frequently unintelligible at times, he delivers a commendably strong vocal take and the powerful production from the duo is some of the best on the album itself. It’s soft, melancholic and all around, a gem.
|22||Fragments of Time|
Todd Edwards had previously worked with the Robots on the Discovery cut ‘Face To Face’ and returns here on RAM for another dance rock powerhouse. While more restrained than Face To Face, the yacht rock like backing track and the deliciously smooth synth work sets the tone of driving down a neon lit highway, graced with Edwards’ genuinely brilliant vocal delivery and his trademark cut up production style on the ear worm chorus
|21||The Prime Time of Your Life|
One of the Duo’s heaviest and most non-commercial songs was ironically released as a single back in 2006. It’s hard, brutal and absolutely furious. The beat itself is more of a burst of squelching feedback, topped off with soulless, distorted vocoder vocals which leads into a two minute meltdown, where the track gets faster and faster and faster before eventually becoming a blaring wall of noise. The sheer fury and brutality of this fucker more than alone kicks it near the top, along with the first section being... oddly catchy?
A wild mishmash of Barry Manilow samples, Marching band snare hits and laser sfx build together to make one of the wildest pieces of prog disco house whatever. It’s energetic, futuristic and strangely triumphant, feeling more like a soundtrack to a ray gun fight in a cosmic disco.
“The funk back to the punk come on”
These words kick off Daft Punk’s first album and introduce the band and their sound as a whole. Starting off as a mumbled ball of bassy phased noise, the words gradually return to normal and the funky drum beat arrives. Funnily, Homework feels a lot like a punk album at times with its sheer rawness and defiance of social standards (like in Revolution 909). The duo turn a simple sample into a fiercely danceable rally cry and make history in only 2 and a half minutes.
|18||Give Life Back To Music|
Kicking off RAM with a burst of hard rock guitar riffage, Give Life Back To Music holds no punches and sets out on the album’s mission statement. To give life and energy back to music. The trail of organic beats and smooth funk guitars nail this point home, Leaving us with a tasty slice of 70s throwback disco guaranteed to get the dance floor moving
|17||Rollin’ and Scratchin’|
Homework up to this point had been fairly easy listening. A great collection of house bangers that could grace any club or radio station. Then comes Rollin’ and Scratchin’. The track that separates the men from the boys. Rock’n Roll’s meaner Older Brother, it’s a 7 minute piece of rumbling chaos. There’s no groovy samples here or shuffling bass lines to get you moving. Just pure undistllled machine noise. A steady 4/4 beat chugs along while a distorted blast of... whatever forms the core of track, increasing in intensity and speed, warping and spreading all over the song and showing no mercy. Revolution 909 may have shown the duo could start a dance uprising. Rollin’ and Scratchin’ showed they meant serious business.
Romanthony returns for Discovery’s closing cut, the aptly titled Too Long. The duo’s longest track, clocking in at exactly 10 minutes variable powerhouse and a joyous celebration of the power of music. It’s been too long since you last danced, but the long wait is over and it’s time to get back to business. It’s good for you after all. Soaring, emotional and with a hell of beat, the robots make 10 minutes somehow seem like 4 in one of the finest closing tracks to any album ever.
Subject to widespread ridicule upon release for being nothing more than a sample with a few extra guitar and drum parts looped for far too long, Robot Rock certainly got a lot of flack upon release. It also tore the fuck out of dance floors. The duo had flirted with guitars before, but Robot Rock was their first full dive into a fully guitar driven piece, combing a shredding guitar riff and synth sequence to make one of the most infectiously groove and downright fierce dance rock songs of god knows how long. Uniting rock fans and dance fans isn’t an easy track, but Daft Punk did it with gusto (also check out the Maximum Overdrive remix if you want your skull to fucking explode)
Everything about Touch shouldn’t work. None of it. Be it the 8 minute run time, the swarm of different genres from Ragtime, funk to 21st century classical, the children’s choir or having the Phantom of The Paradise Paul Williams himself deliver the lead vocal. It all seems like a recipe for disaster and it technically rather is, but not. It’s such a melodramatic over the top clusterfuck it manages to loop back round from sheer insanity to become absolutely kickass. Starting with warped and dizzying effects which lead into a dramatic Shakespearean like lead from Williams which further spiral out into funk riffs, crashing experimental string segments before all climaxing in a gloriously beautiful and cheesy choir section. All to end where it started, with Williams by himself.
Then Get Lucky starts. Absolute maniacs
Another song I hated upon first hearing. Burnin’ feels a little out of place on Homework. It’s definitely the most disco influenced piece on the album. While the others had disco samples or grooves to them, Burnin’ kicks things into overdrive with one of the funkiest basslines of their entire discography. At first feeling like another endurance test a la Rock’n Roll or Rollin’ and Scratchin’, Burnin’ uses a silly sample of a fire truck siren (or a reconstruction of one), one that can either ruin this track or make you enjoy it more, and stretches it out over nearly 7 minutes with a wide array of glittering synths before the disco bass turns things upside down. The weird wavy synth lines sound like a bucket of water cooling down the track (or putting out a fire). It’s weird, oddly harsh and a pretty difficult listen. And it kicks ass, showing the duo’s Chicago house influences in full effect
|12||One More Time|
Shock! Horror! Confusion! One More Time isn’t at the top of the list? What blasphemy is this? Hold your horses folks, trust me. One More Time is amazing. In fact it’s debatably the best Daft Punk song, Maybe even the best dance song period. From the phased horn lines that kick the track off, Romanthony’s autotuned euphoric vocals, the two minute chilldown section? It all mixes with the explosive hook and the thumping disco beat to make a song truly worthy of the ages. A song that everyone knows and is guaranteed to get anyone moving. It absolutely fucks hard and its greatness can not be overlooked. I just happen to prefer the next 11 songs more.
|11||Something About Us|
Daft Punk only got truly sentimental on RAM, and they definitely overdid it a bit there. So Something About Us, at the time was quite unique in its style. Stripping away the hard beats and hooks to leave something bare and naked on an album like Discovery seemed unusual. But make no mistake, Something About Us is gorgeous. From the downbeat keyboard parts to the funk riff/vocoder part (I think they’re one and the same) down to the theremin like solo at the end, Something About Us is so earnest it kind of hurts. While the lyrics are brief and rather basic, they succeed perfectly in getting across the song’s message of a dying declaration of love. And when it’s all over after just a few short minutes, you realise that beneath their dance powered exterior, Daft Punk can break your heart too
|10||Human After All|
I’ve heard people describe Discovery as “humans trying to sound like robots” and Human After All as “robots trying to sound human”. The title track of the latter proves this well. Human After All feels too cold and calculated to be the work of humans, the icy electroclash beat and the repeated chants of “human” meshing together give off an aura of mechanical coldness. But amazingly they work beautiful together, meshing to create a thundering climatic pean for humanity. Plus it’s just damn catchy
The group’s breakout single is still an electrifying chunk of sexy acid house even today. Made famous by the now eternal music video, Da Funk is an absolute trailblazing funky strut through downtown Paris. How a single note bassline can be so damn catchy and genuinely cool is beyond me, but the duo make it work, along with the spluttering filthy synth leads that coat the track in this hypnotically warped glean. It still sounds fresh to this day.
|8||Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger|
When Kanye West samples you, you know you’ve hit the big time. HBFS is a song which sort of sums up Daft Punk’s progression as artists. Their sound hit harder, it was faster and overall it was just better than what they’d made before. Ironically all these traits apply to this track perfectly, an iconic hunk of Garage house which everyone and I mean everyone has at least heard once
Robot Rock May have been where Daft Punk took their rock n roll dreams to the max, but Aerodynamic was where they perfected them. A phased Sister Sledge sample which builds in tension exploding into debatably the most face melting guitar solo ever recorded, before the duo sail into the cosmos with the baroque Flavoured ending. To think they went from Oh Yeah to something like this.
It’s important to note that Discovery is known for its amazing singles. But it’s also Important to note that its albums tracks are just as good. Case in point: Voyager. The title fits perfectly. It feels like a trip across the galaxy, matched with one of the finest basslines in the group’s discography. It’s both relaxing and bouncy at the same time and the light funk guitar that makes its appearance occasionally only adds to the layers of sound and groove that bestow this absolute gem
|5||Around The World|
The best bassline ever recorded? Likely. Around the World is an absolute sonic delight. Yeah it’s repetitive as hell, with seven minutes of the same bassline and vocal line repeated over and over, but it goes hard. Hard as hell. The little synth squelches under the beat and the thumping beat make this a sure fire absolute classic
|4||Face To Face|
Todd Edwards’ first collaboration with Daft Punk is one of their finest tracks. With a mixed up ELO sample gracing the track and the occasional soulful vocal parts bursting into life, Face To Face is powered by a butter smooth lead from Edwards’ mixed with... maybe their best hook? Who knows? It kicks ass. Hard.
The song that got me into Daft Punk and easily their most hyperactive. Like an acid powered carnival, with bleeping synth lines and a brutally catchy anthemic hook that could move even the most stoic of people. The mix of crowd like vocals screaming along to the horn line only add to the maniac charm of the track. It’s frantic, joyous and insanely fun, a track that you can play on repeat and never ever get old.
How can a song with only one word move me so much? I don’t know. Emotion takes the cake though. Building from a light drone into a pulsating bouncing grooving piece of heaven, Emotion is somehow both insanely simple and beautifully complex. Most of the lyrics to Human After All feel like commands. “Do It”, “Make Love”, “Buy It”. Something a machine could say. But Emotion feels brutally genuinely in its message. It finds real emotion in simply a command. You don’t have to do anything. You just have to feel. Then you realise, beneath the metallic and sharp sound of the record, there was a human heart after all.
It’s hard to really put into words how much I adore Digital Love. Is it the beautifully simple but passionate lyrics? The phased synth lines? The Wurlitzer break down? The mind melting chainsaw like keyboard/guitar solo or is it the gloriously delivered vocals? Maybe it’s all of them? It probably is.