Friday, January 17, 2014

Best of 2013 - Random Access Memories

Best of 2013

Song: Give Life Back to Music
Artist: Daft Punk
Album: Random Access Memories

Disliked by much of their fanbase, handicapped from exaggerated expectation, but ultimately wildly critically and commercially successful, Daft Punk's fourth album Random Access Memories was a big moment in music in 2013, and my favorite of the year.

Surprising everyone with a throwback album of 70s and early 80s disco/electronica and strictly using equipment of the time, Random Access Memories was met with a lot of 'WTF?' from music fans and people that loved their earlier work, and the breakout, runaway, chart-busting success of first single "Get Lucky" seemed to double-down with the mind-blown hipster contingent who just wanted Discovery 2.  But Random Access Memories is less about the future and more about the importance of the past and how it created the future.  Genre arguments aside, the wild trip that is Random Access Memories is miles above other albums this year, and despite being an anomaly in their discography... it's also Daft Punk's best record start to finish.  (Esc├índelo!)

There's a lot going on in Random Access Memories, and Daft Punk have expertly balanced the album with pastiche and pop, utilizing a strong set of collaborators both legendary (Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder, Paul Williams) and only recently established (Pharrell Williams, DJ Falcon, Julian Casablancas, Todd Edwards, Chilly Gonzalez) it's a pro album made by pros.  It could be argued that it's too perfect.  I guess.

In the digital age of playlists and single tracks this album brought back the start-to-finish album listening experience (yes debatably) and I for one still feel a heady rush when the first moments of opening track "Give Life Back to Music" explodes as a call to arms and start of a knowly brazen almost eighty minute-long experience.  Beyond everything though, there is serious heart in these songs from robots... and that's what makes it as good as it is.

Both "Giorgio by Moroder" and "Touch" are key to the epicness of the album, both eight-plus minute nostalgia freak-outs that epitomise what the record is about.  But right up front they lay down the manifesto... music about music from machines that ultimately about the human heart.  Truly truly amazing.  (And Nile Rodgers bass lines on some of these tracks are seriously life-giving.  Amen!)

For a final look at my favorites of the year, you can check out the WeCastMusic Best Albums of 2013 and Best Songs of 2013 playlists on Spotify.


Give Life Back to Music
Giorgio by Moroder
Instant Crush

No comments: