I went through a period when I was in eighth and ninth grade where I had messy long hair, a variety of black band t-shirts advertising bands like Iron Maiden and Guns N’ Roses, and a perpetual scowl. This was before I embraced most of my favorite bands of today, like Arcade Fire and Neutral Milk Hotel, but it was also before I saw the value in pop music. I didn’t see the musical value in pop stars like Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, and even less in dance artists and DJs like David Guetta and Deadmau5. I spent most of my music time listening to killer guitar solos and howling metal vocals and deriding things that weren’t hard enough as pop garbage spoon-fed to the mainstream masses.
“One More Time” by Daft Punk was one of the first dance tracks I really got into. From there, I started listening to all of Discovery, and then Homework and Human After All. All three albums had something of a different vibe (Homework’s street sound, Discovery’s slick, funk groove, Human After All’s hard rock guitars), but carried the same extreme professionalism and production values. Even though Human After All had its detractors, it was still pretty well received, and it seemed like Daft Punk was about to go on a creation spree. They released a remix album for Human After All in 2006, followed by a great live album in 2007.
Then nothing. No word on a new album or singles or anything. Eventually, it came out that Daft Punk would be doing the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy. It wasn’t a new studio album, but it was something. Still, after it came out, it didn’t FEEL like a Daft Punk album. It was good, solid score and had some great tracks like “Derezzed”, “Solar Sailor” and “End Of Line”, but it felt too much like a film tie-in. The Daft Punk staples weren’t there and all it did for me was make me more excited for something new.
Enter Random Access Memories and “Get Lucky”. Weird viral marketing with Saturday Night Live promos, a teaser at Coachella, and a series of fifteen minute videos called The Collaborators, interviewing artists who worked with Daft Punk for Random Access Memories. Dozens of “leaks” that consisted of fifteen second loops recut and remixed into something passing itself off as a Daft Punk track.
The moment has passed and “Get Lucky”, the first single from the first true Daft Punk album in over eight years, is out. It features guitar work from Nile Rodgers of Chic and vocals from Pharrell Williams of N.E.R.D. and production duo The Neptunes. Rodgers absolutely destroys the guitar line, creating one of the funkiest and most danceable guitar hooks in recent memory, while Williams croons his way through the verses, nearly creeping into a falsetto in the chorus.
“Get Lucky” isn’t the best Daft Punk song ever made. It also doesn’t have much in common with the traditional Daft Punk singles, like “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” or “Human After All”, instead opting more for a sound like Discovery’s “Face To Face”. It may be a curious choice for a lead single from an incredibly hyped album, but when it comes down to it, “Get Lucky” is an extremely catchy, danceable track that doesn’t sacrifice artistic integrity. If this is a preview to the “new” Daft Punk, I can safely say that I’m excited to see what they have in store for the rest of the album.
Random Access Memories comes out May 21st.