No one had been waiting with more breathless anticipation for DAFT PUNK‘s fourth studio album Random Access Memories more than yours truly. When I first listened to it I was completely taken aback by its thirteen tracks and wasn’t sure how much of it I loved and how much of it I hated. The reviews of the album have been polarized — one half adore it and the other half are completely put off by it. Say what you will about RAM, polarized reactions are always the #1 sign of rock solid art.
The more and more I listen to the album it grows on me like a rapidly broken-in pair of some of my favorite shoes of all-time. DAFT PUNK are inherently self aware of what they are doing here, and being the ones who have dominated electronic music for the past twenty years, the French electronic duo have created a love letter to soft rock, a genre gone by, and a time when music was made by hand instead of by button. Random Access Memories is a brilliant achievement, and North American fans are also coming to realize today that they missed out on a secret 14th track which was made available to Japanese buyers only. The track is called “Horizon” and you can stream it below. And in case you haven’t read The New Yorker’s exceptional review of the album you absolutely must. Written by Sasha Frere-Jones, the review raises a radical question: Does good music need to be good? The following is an excerpt:
“DAFT PUNK’s fourth studio album, ‘Random Access Memories,’ is an attempt to make the kind of disco record that they sampled so heavily for ‘Discovery.’ As such, it serves as a tribute to those who came before them and as a direct rebuke to much of what they’ve spawned. Only intermittently electronic in nature, and depending largely on live musicians, it is extremely ambitious, and as variable in quality as any popular album you will hear this year. Noodly jazz fusion instrumentals? Absolutely. Soggy poetry and kid choirs? Yes, please. Clichés that a B-list teen-pop writer would discard? Bring it on. The duo has become so good at making records that I replay parts of ‘Random Access Memories’ repeatedly while simultaneously thinking it is some of the worst music I’ve ever heard. DAFT PUNK engages the sound and the surface of music so lovingly that all seventy-five loony minutes of ‘Random Access Memories’ feel fantastic, even when you are hearing music you might never seek out. This record raises a radical question: Does good music need to be good?”
You can read the review in full by visiting NewYorker.com, and purchase your own copy of Random Access Memories via iTunes. I have many favorites on the album, but one of the standouts is without question “The Game Of Love”. I look forward in the years ahead to randomly accessing my own memories from this album and the special place it will most certainly hold in my heart when I look back with fond memories on the summer of 2013.
LISTEN TO DAFT PUNK’S BONUS JAPANESE TRACK “HORIZON” HERE: