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Daft Punk Fans- Prepare for Awesomeness
I don't know how anyone feels about the Foo Fighters, but their last album "Wasting Light" was much the same kind of vibe. They recorded it in Dave Grohl's garage on TAPE. The sound of that record is awesome.
I once read somewhere someone talking about making video game sequels, that you should keep one 3rd the same, one 3rd reimagined, and one 3rd brand new. You could apply that to this album. Its obviously a daft punk record but its obviously not what they've done before.
Forelle wrote: Most of the world didn't care a wit about Daft Punk before this album, and nothing about this album is going to change that. I think that most people who buy the album on the basis of hearing Get Lucky are going to be disappointed. This is the type of album that if we were still in the age where everybody bought their music via cd, the used bins would be overflowing with copies in 6 months. That's not a critique on the quality of the music (I generally like the album), but after seeing some of the hype, you'd think this was the second coming of music Jesus. I'd be surprised whether anything other than Get Lucky is still in most people's regular rotation 5 weeks from now, let alone 5 months or 5 years. Some religions are destined to be short lived, I think.
I think you're missing the mark on pretty much every point here except that some people's expectations are going to be violated by this album.
First off, the "world" cares more about Daft Punk than they do about nearly any other act that has been around as long as they have. They are among the few musicians whose new release was so anticipated it actually penetrated the non-music media as news when it was announced. They are nearly unrivaled in their ability to be both critically and professionally respected as well as embraced by a huge public. So, I'd say people care profoundly and in great numbers about this release. And when you release proper albums as infrequently as Daft Punk, that only gets people more genuinely excited.
I'd argue that while the marketing was not subtle, it did a good job of avoiding puffed up hype. Releasing half a dozen interviews with pivotal music icons that a younger audience maybe isn't as familiar with strikes me as a very serious and sincere way of showing how much they cared and thought about what they were trying to do with this album.
It's true that the album isn't a hit-parade like Discovery, but seriously, anyone who was paying attention to the slow roll-out of information about the album shouldn't be entirely surprised that they went in a different direction, and I think that this album will become equally venerated because the quality of the music here is just as high, if not higher.
The idea that this album is something everyone bought during the CD era is just completely wrong. This is something quite new they have accomplished here, and I hope you stick with it because I think it'll get to you eventually.
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Daft Punk have remained popular even though they've released less records than bands half their vintage. Their first record was popular and sold well internationally, as did Discovery. Human After All wasn't as critically or commercially successful, but it kept them on the map. They developed a kind of fandom, complete with cosplayers.
It was really 2005, 2006, 2007 that they really got big- because rock people and indie people started to appreciate them. LCD Soundsystem wrote a song about them. Kanye sampled them. Then they did Coachella and the Alive tour, which just cemented their mystique. They did a major soundtrack. So I'd hardly say that most of the world didn't care about them.
The marketing, like Prodigal says, strikes me as particularly smart because it wasn't just bullshit hype. It felt sincere. The collaborator interviews, that last promo where they play the record but cut after the first couple of bars...you got a sense that they were, as artists, very excited and confident in what they had accomplished. Forelle is at least partially right that it is the kind of CD that would have been bought in droves and resold at the used CD shop six months later. Because although there are very mainstream hooks (and a devastating pop single), it is an ALBUM, not a hits collection. And modern audiences do not like albums. They also don't like four minutes of Giorgio Mordorer's life story getting away of teh beatz or a 10 minute Paul Williams singer/songwriter number coming from a house act. The sad truth is that this record- as profoundly universal as it is- will sail over the heads of a large number of the people that buy it this week on sale at Target for $9.99.
But for those that plug into what they're trying to accomplish artistically, this is a record that could be a life changer for the right people. It could be like in that LCD Soundystem song "Losing My Edge"- "I heard that all your friends are selling their turntables and buying guitars, they want to make something real". After all these years of soulless, awful dance music (and dubstep), I think it's a major statement that one of the leading lights of the electronic music scene made a record based on live performances, musicianship, songwriting, and "real" elements from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and now, completely unbounded by trend or audience expectation. Some of that you could hear in Discovery 11 years ago (!!!). But this record feels like the full flowering of what they were trying to do then but maybe didn't quite have the clout or artistic impetus to do so.
I have to say that it thwarted my own expectations- it's actually far better than I expected.
It's an album. It's got songs. They are well-made. I'm glad I bought it. I look forward to exploring it further.
But where is this breathless hyperbole coming from?
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Michael Barnes wrote:
I forget that some folks think they're above just completely, subjectively loving something.
I think that it's just something that we are going to encounter when writing passionately about music on a board gaming forum.
I bought Daft Punk's RAM album pretty much on Barnes' reaction only. I've been listening to it all day and can't remember the last time I was this into an album (maybe August & Everything After twenty years ago?).
The songs just make me smile or tap my foot or bob my head. There are so many great tracks, I think there's only one I dislike ON THE ENTIRE ALBUM.
Like almost everyone else in this thread, I listened to it on the early gushing from Barnes and others and mostly liked it. I mean, I liked Get Lucky as much as anyone, and the rest of it played so smooth and so wonderfully that I could leave it running on Spotify most of the day while I was at work.
See, I'm not a dance music guy by nature. I've always found it to be a little repetitive, even in its finest form (like Discovery). But I've slowly developed a taste for it over the last few years, thanks largely to LCD Soundsystem and Michael Jackson's Off The Wall. And there was something in the impassioned disco beats of RAM that kept calling out to me. I think my opinion was sealed when I listened to the whole album 3 times while I sat at my desk yesterday. I figured it was time to actually buy it so I could listen to it while I go walking.
Let me tell you, you haven't experienced RAM until you've listened to it on headphones. Zoomed out it's still wonderful, but even through my crappy iPod headphones I was hearing nuance that had never been evident through computer speakers. I was, quite honestly, transported.
This is the Sgt. Pepper of dance music, and I don't think it's an exaggeration. It's got that same maniacal perfectionistic streak, the same ridiculous scope and sprawl. Listening to it felt like when I really latched on to Brian Wilson's version of Smile. It's one of those rare albums where the music itself seems to be expressing things that words cannot contain. Indeed, the lyrics are so simple because the music is doing the heavy emotional lifting. Only a couple albums have done that for me, like the afore-mentioned Smile and Kid A. But RAM does it so much more joyfully and intensely.
What a wonderful album.