thu 20/06/2024

CD: Daft Punk - Random Access Memories | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

CD: Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

Do YOU believe the hype?

Random Access Memories: what does it all mean?

A wise man once said: DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE. It's a simple concept, but it seems so very hard to grasp, even – or especially – in a supposedly media-savvy world. The oddest thing of all is that it seems to be the people who consider themselves the most resistant to, or able to rise above, hype campaigns who have been caught up the most in the frenzy around this album.

I have been consistently boggled and slightly saddened by the number of people who should know better that I have seen tripping over themselves to explain how “bland” or “disappointing” or “derivative” or “cynical” or "shallow" or “badly written” or “just a Chic record” or “not deserving of the hype” this record is on the basis of one cursory listen to a sketchy rip of an iTunes stream. It gets even worse if they can invoke the two-degrees-of-separation nature of the internet and announce they know someone who met Daft Punk and thought they were wankers (OMG! Rude Frenchmen! Clutch your pearls!).

Then there's the Polyannas: this is the saviour of dance music, the event album of the decade, the record that unifies us all, the final vindication of disco, a work of conceptual genius, and how much of a work of cultural art was that campaign, and on, and on, and bleedin' on. And don't even get me started on the analysis of what it all means, and of what's going on under those robot helmets...

Frankly it makes me ashamed to have ever had any part in commenting on records. I may make my living, such as it is, from having an opinion on music, but for once I feel like screaming “JUST SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO THE THING. OR DON'T. WHATEVER.” The ultimate irony of all the leaping to be the first and most vehement to have an opinion being that this is the most immediate, instant, uncynical, analysis-proof record you could hope to hear. You can pull out any number of references – to Chic, Fleetwood Mac, Vangelis, Todd Rundgren, Can, Air, Herbie Hancock, Scott Walker, Alex Gopher and many more – and there'll plenty of fun to be had from doing so... and yes, it's great that people have opinions, it's great that a record can still be an event - but you don't need that. You don't need any of it.

Honestly, after all this stinking cloud of second-guessing and speculation and posture taking and hall-of-mirrors reflections of reflections of reflections of hype, I for one just cannot be arsed any more. But thankfully, when you stick it on and let its complex arrangments of smooth surfaces and simple messages of fear, hope, loneliness and belonging unfold around you, it's possible to forget all that postpostpostmodern hype and anti-hype and meta-hype and enjoy the pure pleasure of it. And like millions of other people who are going to get untold pleasure from this record this summer and beyond, that's just what I've been doing this week. Try it too, you might like it.

This is the most immediate, instant, analysis-proof record you could hope to hear


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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Grrrr... I was quite proud of my little comment and it vanished into the ether. So... I'll attempt to reconstruct it... although because I am in the middle of tasting 75 2007 Barolo Riserva blind it may not be the most eloquent of my commentaries. Joe, whilst I usually align myself with your musical leanings, on this one we part ways. I'm just amazed to see so many folks frothing at the teeth over this whilst so many others froth at the gash. And these are mostly individuals that I have historically had much respect for when it comes to their understanding of what makes for good sounds. Granted, The single is catchy as hell. Whilst it's easy to criticise the album as being derivative, I can appreciate those reference points, as I'm sure many of my elderly peers will. But, listened to as an album, it's a jumble of clumsy sonic daydreams interspersed with hug-your-idols wankfests.

It sounds like AIR met Alan Parsons in an old fart convention and decided to borrow peter framptons talk box for safe measure.

Very nicely done sir. Damn bloody right -but hype is such a stupidly persuasive and sadly inevitable hysteria. I love this: "I'm just amazed to see so many folks frothing at the teeth over this whilst so many others froth at the gash." And actually, I haven't even listened to it yet. Too scared. Been battered by hype. Call amberlamps.

It have been a long time since a full album give so much pleasure (it should be Ok Computer from Radiohead in 1997). Each time i listen to it, it gives me the thrill, a pure masterpiece, a retrospective of groove. The funny fact is than i didn't like it at the first listening.

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