Flashback: Daft Punk on Drugs


Originally Posted May 18, 2003 on Destroy, White Boy

Remember last year when everyone was moist with anticipation for the first Daft Punk record in forever? Remember how ‘Get Lucky’ was, and still is, played to death? Remember when I decided to write a blow-by-blow record review on drugs? No? Lucky for you I’m sharing it again – certainly not because it’s my finest work, but because it still entertains me.

It’s amazing, the things you can get in capsules these days. I had happened to obtain a mildly psychedelic one and decided to reward myself. I was home alone, I’d just got my hands on a copy of Random Access Memories – why not put the two together? This review was written the same night that Triple J were holding their exclusive world-premiere listening party out in a bush town called Wee Waa. 

It was as I was starting to take flight that I got the idea of writing it all down. I didn’t read it again until the morning after. If you enjoy it near as much as I did then that should be enough. Let’s begin.

1. Give Life Back To Music
It makes you want to pick up instruments, immediately. In itself that’s already unlike Daft Punk.

(I was wondering why there was a distinct absence of writing for the first two tracks, before I realised that I’d decided to go to the bathroom and ended up staring at the tub for god knows how long, because it was shimmering and moving and the reflections of the lights made it look like it was full of jelly-water-stuff  – and I was, well, off my face.)

2. The Game of Love
Second one chilled, relaxed, but with amazing subtlety in the composition, the bass so tight yet refined. IT JUST SOUNDS SO REAL. Keyboard solo just sounds… played. Dynamic drums

3. Giorgio By Moroder
Detailed story by Giorgio. People in Wee Waa aren’t going to truly appreciate it. Headphones baby aww yeah. Thumping electronic groove. It’s like going into the past to see the future. JAZZY BIT. Rimshots. Aw sexy bass. Then goes back all serious and digital like “Once you free your mind about a concept of harmony and music being correct, you can do whatever you want. No one told me what to do, there was no preconception of what to do.” Epic orchestra. GROOVE COMES BACK. Electro loop with full band playing AND orchestra. Epic. DRUM SOLO FUCKIN AW YEAH. TRIGGERS! GUITAR SOLO ARPEGGIOS! FUCK!

4. Within
Piano. Classy. Once again, human. Subtleties in the playing, dynamics. In the recording of it too. Switch to synth. If they didn’t have an album with the title already this should have been called ‘Human After All’ . Lounge. ‘A Robot’s Lament slash Rainbow Connection – that’s my title for it. Short. Nice. Doesn’t really go anywhere though.

5. Instant Crush
Straight into Strokes sound. Here comes Casablancas. He sounds like he’s in Daft Punk, voice. DROP IS AWESOME. THERE’S THAT BASS AGAIN. Transitions beautifully back into verse. Apart from vocoder this could be anything on a Strokes or solo effort.  Duo guitar solos in each headphone, like they’re jamming. THE DROP IS AWESOME. Good track but still think it could be Strokes.

6. Lose Yourself To Dance

7. Touch
Beeps. Beep beep. Windy. Bleep bloop. My arms feel weird. Meditate! UNDERWATER. OO touch I remember touch. Sounds like Chris De Burgh. Sounds like human version of previous robot lament. Here comes the funk oh shit. TOUCH WHERE DO YOU LEAD I NEED SOMETHING MORE! This better drop. HIGH HATS HI! Classy classical. OH YEAH HERE COMES SHOWTIME FUNK DISCO HONKY TONK? Flutes and trumpets. Flutrets. BREAKDOWN. Sounds almost like Dream Theater, vocal tuning like FUCKHOUSE sounds like KAnYe. Piano and choir in the background. Nice. SHINING VIOLINS. Oh but it goes nice. Strings nice. Choir. Does NOT sound like Daft Punk. If not for occasional sound.  Back to De Burgh.

8. Get Lucky
Get lucky. Excuse me while I gyrate against the refrigerator in the dark. You could replace the words with almost anything and it would still make you dance. Think of that for later. Its getting hot in here! Just took a jacket off. ROBOTS. Man I hip thrust alot. That’s why its better i do this in private . WE’RE UP ALL MEXICAN! LUCKY. I HEARD IT. Double kick?

9. Beyond
DAFT PUNK PRESENTS! A DAFT PUNK PRODUCTION. Sounds like opening movie titles. Great score. If they composed this fully by themselves for the orchestra, massive kudos. OH THERES THE FUNK SEX AGAIN. NEON STUFF. REAL DRUMS GOD ITS GOOD TO HEAR REAL DRUMS. Acoustic guitar in the background REAL QUIET at first. Becoming more prominent. Pretty straightforward. Melody slightly predictable. Once again the layering and composition is high qual. Compensates. SO MUCH SUBTLE INSTRUMENTATION. Retro synth. Building up layers is I suppose what they do anyway but with instruments theres just so much more.. room

10. Motherboard
Tricky beat. Triplets. LAYERED DRUMS. Water. STRINGS flute panning left to right. Awesome. Polyrhythms. Syncopation. Parradiddles. Awesome. Bass transitions from funky lines to solid.. thick. Drums are fucking awesome. Its a wonderland kinda thing. Everything is so beautifully constructed and presented but nothing slaps you in the face. Asuming this will stay instrumental? Uh oh sounds like its buiding. Oh here it comes. Epic spaceship moist dr who uh oh here comes jungly tribal stuff. Was about to build up.. now the suspense. GUITAR for half a second. Now beyond 2000. This should really be the last track. Last track has a bit of an onus on it really, even at this stage. RAIN SOUNDS> or river. Now bubbles. Gone

11. Fragments Of Time
Ooh one two here we go. Subtle. Funk. I have said subtle ALOT I must want a CIGARETTE. This sounds like it could be motown. Crystal clear. If I had my way I would neve leave, keep building these random memories OH HE SAID IT> Nice chorus, it’s like Daft Punk have joined a band. They stray as far away as they can and then BAM remind you. Bluesy motown. Drums solid again. Hi hats sounds delicious. SPACE SOLO jam time. Bring it back. I feel like Ray Charles.

12. Doing It Right
DOING IT RIGHT! ROBOTS! DOING IT RIGHT! ROBTOTSTOBTSROBOTSROBOTSTOBOSTSTOBRSOB! Deep bass synth drum thing. Oh real vocals. Robot voice instrument while melody go. If you lose your way tonight thats how you know the magics right apparne==tly. Breakdown. Kind of waiting for it to go somewhere. Ends.

13. Contact
Old school sounding synth. 80s. Radio call transmission thing. Flashing. Way out in the distance. Rotating ina rhygmic fashion as we look back its 11 o clock. THERES SOMETHING OUT THERE. OOOOH ORGANS VAMPIRE ROBOTS! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA IM SORRY DAVE I’M AFRAID I CAN”T DO THAT! This sounds like freaking Daft Punk for zeshle. DRUM SOLO MAYBE I WAS MISTAKEN> AWW YEAH awesome drums vampire robots again. THE DRUMS ARE BACK HERE COMES THICK AS SYNTH> open the hi hat. WE’RE ABOUT TO FUCKIN TAKE OFF AND SHIT. Explosion. Backs off. Beat still going in background. Subtle still haven’t gone for cigarette aww shit its getting louder its scraping and wobbling aw man its gunna be epic. AHH THE PANNING MY BRAIN. It stopped. Oh wait…. THATS IT? WHAT THE FUCK?!

If this was a movie instead of an album that would have finished with a ‘to be continued…’, surely.

Overall. FUCKING AWESOME. Far away from Daft Punk but still their own. Worth the wait. I’m not sure it’ll be what everyone expects. The drums though, the drums. THE DRUMS CMON CMONCMONCMONCMON. GET TO THE CHOPPER. Awesome.

And there you go.

This conclusion is being written in the future, September 2014. I’ve listened to the album multiple times now, and as well as getting wonderful flashbacks to that night every time I listen to it, so much of what I said still rings true. Yes Get Lucky is now bordering on the verge of annoying but all of the tracks, the instrumentation, the arrangements and the production are still breathtaking.

Daft Punk answered the question of ‘what will the future of music sound like?’ with this album – and thankfully for ALL of us it still includes instruments. It’s an opus that I think will be very hard to beat on any subsequent release. It’s brilliantly and painstakingly crafted and sounds absolutely brilliant and intentional. Every subtlety was planned, it’s a masterpiece.

Most of the world now knows this, too – but I hope this… ‘unique’ review gives you another perspective on an album that will easily stand the test of time.


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