Review: Discovery

This second album by French duo Daft Punk
is a fine example of a perfect album.


After their successful comeback in the summer of 2013, chances are you’ve heard of Daft Punk. You probably have Get Lucky downloaded onto your phone, or maybe you gave Random Access Memories (which I reviewed last year) a listen. Last year, millions of people came across Daft Punk for the first time. But the funky 80’s-style Daft Punk of current times is quite different from their past work.

Enter Discovery. Released just over thirteen years ago, this was Daft Punk’s second album, after creating Homework a few years earlier. Homework helped to establish Daft Punk in the music industry, with popular dance hits such as Da Funk and Around The World. And while Homework was a good album with some incredible songs (namely those mentioned above), Discovery takes the bar set by Homework and snaps it in half and places the bar twice the height of the original bar. It’s that good.

The tale of how I, em, “discovered” this album is a strange one. I was stuck waiting in the car outside school during January 2013, trying to pass the time while waiting for a Parent Teacher Meeting to end. I had iRadio, the most popular radio station in my locale for young people. It’s radio schedule generally consists of “Top 20 Songs of the Month You’ve Heard Countless Times Already”, but it was better than the tripe on all the other stations at 8PM. Half-asleep in the heat, I heard a song I hadn’t heard before. It was unusual; electric-sounding, without the wubs we associate with more modern EDM matched with robotic vocals that fitted perfectly into the catchy melody… It was something I wasn’t used to at the time, but I tapped my foot vigorously to the beat.

“That was Daft Punk with Digital Love.”  said the presenter. I took out my phone, and created a new note. “Daft Punk“. I’d have to check it out when I got home. I’d heard of Daft Punk before, but never listened to their music. I always assumed they were a rock band of some sort, due to the word “punk” in their name, but that was certainly not rock.

Later that week, I decided to give Daft Punk a listen. I opened up the YouTube app on my phone and typed in “Daft Punk album”. This album is what returned. It was the greatest thing I had ever heard and, more than anything, made me happy. Very happy. I sat there on my own with a huge smile on my face. It was a great feeling, and one that no album has recreated since.

Discovery is an incredible album. It’s the album that helped me define my music taste. If you know me, you’ve probably heard me talk about it. It got me interested in different types of music that I would have ignored in the past. Without it, chances are I’d still be listening to the latest hits by Rihanna and The Script. I don’t think a better album exists than this fine-tuned, toe-tapping beast of a record.

The album opens with One More Time“That One More Time? The one with-”  Yeah, that’s the one. Daft Punk’s biggest hit until their recent Get Lucky is a song that millions of people recognise. It’s infectiously catchy, easily playing to your mind for days on end. With a slick vocaloid effect on the lead vocals, it sets a prime example of what else is to come.

Out of nowhere, One More Time ceases and we hear the ringing of a bell. This was really unusual, and completely out of the blue, and slightly puzzled me at first listen. But what follows is Aerodynamic, a song that evolves multiple times throughout the short three and a half minutes. What starts as a quick funky groove turns into an intense electric guitar riff, a mix of both and then a complete breakdown, completely different to how the song opened. It’s a track that still captivates me to this day.

The following tracks keep the same high standard. Digital Love, as mentioned above, is super-catchy pop with simple yet striking lyrics about love.

Last night I had a dream about you
In this dream I’m dancing right beside you
And it looked like everyone was having fun
the kind of feeling I’ve waited so long

Harder Better Faster Stronger is an incredibly simple yet powerful song, that creates a superbly energetic anthem with less than twenty different words. The song was sampled for the chorus of Kanye West’s “Stronger”, but I much prefer the original. Crescendolls is another upbeat song with minimal vocals, while Nightvision is a much more relaxed song, which helps to break up the fast-paced action of the previous songs and serves as a soothing interlude.

Superheroes and High Life continue the trend of speedy songs with few lyrics, retro vibes and constant evolution. Something About Us slows the album down with a very funky bassline and, in a similar way to Digital Love before it, heart-felt lyrics. Voyager and Verdis Quo bring us back up to a more disco sound, with both songs (but Voyager in particular) being great for chilling out to in the background.

Short Circuit is one of my favourite songs in the album. It starts of fairly simplistic with nothing more than a simple drum beat and a synthesizer, but half way through it sounds like the song has just being dropped in the toilet and is struggling to play, with disturbing sounds like a electronic toy that’s had its day.

Face To Face and Too Long are similar songs with actual choruses and verses (yeah, not what we’ve come to expect from this album), but both are enjoyable to listen to. Too Long lasts an impressive ten minutes, really staying true to its name (a bit like this review, as the word count approaches one thousand).


 

All in all, this album can only be summarised as a perfect album. It’s the album that popularised Daft Punk, got me into both the artist and EDM in general and opened my eyes to new artists. But in its own right, it’s an incredible work of music. The songs differ greatly, yet fit together as one when listened together. Clearly inspired by the disco music from years gone by (which Daft Punk helped revive with their latest album), it is virtually flawless.This is the only album I know that has no bad songs.

It should be noted that the album was also used as the soundtrack to anime movie “Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem”, an album with no dialogue and very few sound effects that illustrate the story behind the album. 

But without a doubt, if you have interest in EDM, pop, disco, funk or even if you have no interest in any of these as I did, you should listen to this album. There’s a reason why I proudly call it my favourite album of all time, having listened to it a countless number of time. And, after giving it a shot, it’s quite possible that you’ll love it too.

10/10.

I hope you enjoyed this review. I had a few ideas for posts this month, but this is what I decided to go with. Expect more review-type content to come next month, as I don’t think a Tumblr-style feed is what I want this blog to become. If you enjoyed this review, I also reviewed Daft Punk’s latest album, Random Access Memories last year. You can read that post here. If  you’ve any feedback, please post a comment down below; I’m always looking on ways to improve my writing. Thanks for reading!

Video

[Music Video] I’m not Justin Bieber, B**ch

If you’ve been on the internet for a decent amount of time, you’ve probably watched a Gunther video or two. The infamous Ding Dong Song went viral around 2005. Remember? Swedish 40 year old with a 80’s pornstar ‘stache? Thought so.

There’s something about Gunther that I just love. Maybe it’s the hyper-sexualisation of everything in his videos and lyrics, that deep, masculine voice or the fact that his new album is going to be named “Dirty Man Swedish Sex Beast”. I’m not even joking.

Anyway, he’s back after a hiatus that lasted way too long, with “I’m not Justin Bieber, B**ch”. While the song isn’t as good as past classics such as “Tooti Fruiti String Bikini” and “Sun Trip”, it’s still pretty great. There’s as much lens flare as a J.J. Abrams film and Gunther just casually says “I’m so fucking hot” about ten times. It’s the best video of the year so far.

Renovation

Renovation (also called remodeling) is the process of improving a structure.

Two years ago, I first created this blog. After a long string of failed ideas, unusual names and false commitments, this was the first real blog which I actually used.

Here’s the thing, though: design is important. It’s important that you’re design creates a great first impression, but isn’t cluttered and is actually readable. After the grey and sidebar-filled darkness of Monochrome, I went with the fairly great Twenty Thirteen, which I made a nice little post about last year.

Sorbet - Blog 2014

Turns out that I was growing tired of that old theme, so I’ve switched it around again. Now it’s super clean. No header, no logo, no sidebar. Just content. That’s what this whole blog is about, so it’s probably best for the design to suit the content.

On the state of the blog: generally speaking, expect more regular posts. I’m thinking about keeping the reviews/opinion/etc. to a once-a-month ordeal, but I don’t want that to be the only thing that this blog is about. That’s why I’m considering posting more often, but with videos, quotes, songs and other forms of media instead of your standard block of text

2013, huh?

Look at that. Another year is finally over, and 2014 is finally upon us, and what better time to look at back at the past twelve months on this fine establishment of a blog? WordPress have done a cool little “Year in Review” for me, so let’s have look through it, shall we?

In 2013, I post a grand total of 9 times. Yeah, really. That’s all. That’s about 39% of my total published blog posts (at time of publishing, obviously). I have to admit that I didn’t post nearly as much as I wanted to this year. On the other hand, I think the quality of 2013 posts is noticeably higher than posts from the previous year, a few of which are now private to save myself from the embarrassment.

Moving on, let’s look at the views. I got a grand total of 330 blog views in 2013, which is something I don’t overly care about, if I be completely honest. My approach to this whole blogging idea is that I write about what I want to write about. I take as much time as I need for a quality post (while sticking to a semi-regular schedule). I don’t care about how many people see it, the fact that the piece itself is there is enough for me.

Let’s keep going. Country-wise, 108 of those views came from the mighty United States of America. This was followed by a surprisingly high number from my good ol’ pals in Ireland, with a fairly decent 104. This shocked me, because I don’t really know any Irish people who visit this place, but I’ll take it anyway. I got 61 views from the UK, and two views each from Russia, Indonesia, four from Brazil and one from Mexico and, yeah, Saudi Arabia. I’ve no idea how these people found my blog, but I guess it’s cool that people from all around the world are seeing this site, if even just looking at the front page.

Post wise, it seems that you guys really liked my R.I.P. OMGPOP article from August, which I actually thought was one of my weaker posts this year, with seventeen views. Following that was my review of Arctic Monkey’s AM, an album that I still listen to on a regular basis.

There’s quite a bit more information in the official report from WordPress, so you statistic lovers can check out the full report here.

Thanks for reading! Comments rock, so leave one below. Again, feedback is key to progress.

Review: Demon Days

I’ve had varying opinions on Demon Days by The Gorillaz over the past month or so. I discovered it around the end of November, and wasn’t very fond of it. It was all very unusual. The blaring sirens, manic laughter and unusual vocals sort of put me off this album at first. I liked some songs, such as Feel Good Inc, but the vast majority were instantly skipped. It was just too weird for me, and I wasn’t even sure if I should review it. It seemed to be something that I just didn’t like.

demon days

However, I was in Manchester for the Manchester vs Everton game (which was super disappointing). We visited the gigantic Trafford Centre shopping centre, where they had the most amazing HMV store I’ve ever seen. It was filled with CDs from every artist you could imagine, hundreds of DVDs, really cool Breaking Bad merchandise and even a PS Vita for £99. There were loads of great deals, including Blur: The Best Of which I picked up for £2. I did, however, find Demon Days for the sweet price of £6. I had to jump, and after listening to the CD-quality version of the album, I believe it was the right choice.

After listening to the album just once on CD, my opinion had changed drastically. It all seemed to slot in together, and I finally got the idea of the album. I really enjoyed some songs, such as Last Living Souls and El Mañana, which I would’ve swiftly skipped over previously. I seemed to appreciate the more slow-paced songs a lot more than beforehand.

I can’t talk about Demon Days without talking about some of the more well known songs from the album. Feel Good Inc. catchy tune and satisfying rapping create the best song on the disc, establishing itself as an alternative rock classic, and the song The Gorillaz will be remembered by. Dirty Harry and Dare both stand out as songs that are much more approachable than other songs in the album.

On the other side of things, you have the hidden gems that I overlooked at first. Last Living Souls is a bleak and initially empty song with interesting chiptune influences, that can have you muttering “Are we the last living souls?” under your breath in the middle of English class. El Manana is similarly bleak, but just as interesting to listen to.

Demon Days is unusual. Yeah, it definitely is. It’s not the most approachable album. Chances are you won’t like it at the first listen. And the ending is quite weak, with songs like Don’t Get Lost In Heaven and Demon Days not as strong as the rest of the album. But give it a few listens. You might just fall in love with it.

8/10

I’m on a roll with these album reviews! Talking about music is something I can do semi-decently, without much difficulty. It just flows, I guess.

Anyway, hope you liked this one. Leave a comment or a like, and don’t forget that feedback is crucial!