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!

Review: AM

AM is the new album by Arctic Monkeys. This is the first album that I like that I discovered straight through Spotify. I saw it floating on the top of the “Top Albums” list for a few weeks, so I decided to give it a listen.

Best decision ever.

AM

Up to that point, I had no idea who the Arctic Monkeys were. I’d heard of them, but I had no idea what their songs were or even what music genre they were in. I had no idea what to expect. I have to admit, I was surprised. Pleasantly surprised.

A quick look at Wikipedia tells me that their genre is indie rock,but their music is very different from what my perception of indie rock was. They really emphasise the rock aspect, which is something that I haven’t really been a fan of before. However, I absolutely adore this album.

The songs are amazing, to put it bluntly. Nearly all the songs have this high-pitched harmony with the other band members, while the main singer does the main melody (obviously enough). It works really well, and really adds to all the songs. There’s lots of electric guitar riffs and heavy percussion (compared to what I’m used to, anyway). Everything just blends in perfectly and is a delight for my ears.

Now I’ll focus on the actual songs. I find it impossible to pick out a band song. If there was ever a recommendation on this blog, that’s it. The album opens with “Do I Wanna Know?” and “R U Mine?”, with a distinct upbeat, rock vibe to it. It slows down with “One for the Road” and “No 1 Party Anthem” later on, finishing with the romantic and mesmerising “I Wanna Be Yours”. The album changes quite a bit in parts, but at no point does the quality of the abum drop. It’s really exceptional.

I highly recommend that anyone who likes indie rock checks it out in its entirety, and those that are hesitant to at least listen to the first few songs. This is my favourite album so far this year, and that’s why I’m giving it a…

9/10.

Yes, I know I’ve neglected this blog again. This is my first post since August, which isn’t exactly “a post per month”. Anyway, I’m just going to post when I feel like I’ve something to say. Simple as that. I’ve added a review score this time, for those people who don’t like words. All feedback is much appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Review: Random Access Memories

I have a strange sort of relationship with Daft Punk. I first discovered them in January of this year, sitting in the car listening to the radio. Digital Love was the song, and it is probably one of my favourite songs of all time. Later that month I decided to give the full album (Discovery) a try, and I was pleasantly surprised. Since then, I’ve unashamedly listened to the album time and time again. It made it’s way into my daily schedule, my little treat. The album was crafted together so perfectly, it was like a story was just unfolding in front of you.

daft-punk-random-access-memories-artwork

Fast forward four months, and we’ve finally got our hands on a new album. A new Daft Punk album is something that generally creates an atmosphere of excitement, due to the fact that it isn’t a very regular occasion. The last album, Human After All (2005), was criticized for being highly repetitive. It’s safe to say that that isn’t the case with Random Access Memories.

 

Yes, Random Access Memories is the name, and fits in quite neatly. The whole album is a homage to the disco-style music of the late 70’s, early 80’s. As someone who was born decades after this time frame, the “Memories” aspect doesn’t exactly apply to me. Yet this album is possibly Daft Punk’s best to date.

The amount of variety in the album is unbelievable. With many artists including Pharrell Williams getting a piece of the Daft Punk action, they all have their own style added into the mix. Pharrell Williams songs are  catchy, upbeat and energetic, with top hit Get Lucky breaking records as the most streamed song in Spotify’s history. Paul Williams’ track Touch changes from extreme to extreme, yet leaving us with an experience you don’t seem to expect from a song of this genre.

While I understand why some fans are upset that  Daft Punk have “abandoned their roots”, they’ve done the opposite. They’ve gone back to before Discovery, back before Homework. They’ve taken music from an age that has fallen into an area forgotten by many of us, the music that inspired Daft Punk’s music from the start, and refreshed our “memories”, reminding us of this great era that many of us have never experienced. They’ve been inspired by the past, and have moulded them into something that I am proud to say is part of our present lives.

You can listen to the album on Spotify below:

spotify:album:4m2880jivSbbyEGAKfITCa

Is anyone here a Daft Punk fan? Agree with my review? Also, what’s your opinion on my reviewing style? Reviews are something that I read quite often, but hardly ever produce. Hopefully this will be the first review of many.