"A light but polished, elegant record whose robotic vocals would hold expressiveness and emotion."- Thomas Bangalter.
Random Access Memories, the fourth album from Daft Punk, is eclectic, innovative, engaging and very interesting to listen to. If you're expecting just another EDM cd, you'd be disappointed. If not, you're gonna love it. Lending their cache to the effort are singing legend Paul Williams, Giorgio Moroder, Panda Bear, Pharrell Williams, Chilly Gonzales and music icon Nile Rodgers, whose fingerprints are all over the place. The decision to take it back to a classic early 80's mix of disco and smooth jazz-styles featuring session musicians is a good one. This cd sounds... alive! You'd almost think the late Roger and Larry Troutman from ZAPP! were looking down on them while they made it. With 13 tracks, each one has something special, something to make you want to explore and not just play them. Also makes it hard to pick out some to highlight.
01- Give Life to Back to Music: if you're of that certain age, soon as you hear the drums, rhythm guitar, bass and party chatter flowing through this one you'll want to lace up your roller skates and hit the rink! And you won't take them off until the cd's finished.
03- Giorgio by Moroder: a slice of musical history with disco icon Giorgio Moroder as he outlines his music journey through snippets mixed in with the beats and rhythms. Most interesting is how he was recorded with three distinct mics- including two from the 60s, 70s- to reflect his decades-spanning career.
05- Instant Crush with Julian Casablancas: One of my faves, but the music is almost spot on from another 80s tune, "Eye In The Sky" by Alan Parsons Project, right down to the filtering of Casablanca's voice (Thanks to Eric Shepard and Booky McGee for helping me out with that).
06- Lose Yourself to Dance with Pharrell Williams: Not really into his singing, but this one is one of the best tracks! And yeah, those are real hand claps you're hearing.
07- Touch featuring Paul Williams: Williams also wrote the lyrics. Ever-shifting and psychedelically complex, it's rumored to be based upon a Brian de Palma film that Williams also starred in and scored. Reminds you in a lot of ways of the Beatles, especially "A Day in the Life".
08- Get Lucky with Pharrell Williams: the first single release. It's what a night out is all about, not just what the title's metaphor suggests.
09- Beyond: starts out with string sweeps like a movie score, but switches into a keyboard/guitar rhythm straight from Michael McDonald's classic "I Keep Forgetting".
11- Fragments of Time with Todd Edwards: another infective, jazzy upbeat tune to nod your head to. Singing reminds you of Justin Timberlake or Jon B.
13- Contact: starting with a recording from the Apollo 17 mission describing a strange object witnessed in space to set the tone, there's some shades of TRON: Legacy here, but what really makes it are the drums as the song progresses and peaks.
This one is completely unexpected and that's part of what makes it so much fun! It's a bold, creative effort from the boys and proves the old adage of sometimes you have to go back in order to move forward.