Have you ever sat down and listened to some music, or watched a movie, or read a book and just had the sense that whatever you were hearing, seeing, or reading was special? Like, you can’t quite put your finger on it, but for some reason, just out of reach, it hits that inexplicable and beautiful nerve that only great art can? That’s my experience with this record. Much in the same way that I can’t quite put into words why the final standoff in Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western masterpiece The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly makes me feel like it does, French electronic duo Daft Punk’s 2013 album Random Access Memories just gives me that feeling. So it’s safe to say that I’m biased.
Okay well let’s move past me fangirling over this record and talk about the actual content. Part of why this album is a great intro to electronic music is that it isn’t purely electronic (this has been a common theme this week). In fact, Random Access Memories is as much an electronic album as it is disco and funk. Random Access Memories makes use of a variety of styles, combining Daft Punk’s signature electronic vocal parts and experimentation with production and different sounds with actual guitars, a variety of stringed instruments, a combination of drum machines and session musicians, and a bunch of other fun music things. I will often praise records for having this kind of combination of instruments and styles, and I’m definitely not changing my stance on this one. Daft Punk is so much their own unique thing and this album showcases that beautifully. It is really hard to explain as a whole what this album sounds and feels like because there aren’t really any other albums that I’ve listened to that are particularly comparable. The double edged sword of this is that it’s entirely possible that you just won’t like the way that this album sounds and feels. In my amateur and humble opinion, however, Random Access Memories is an album experience worth having regardless.
Here’s another thing that I love to either praise or raise criticism over: runtime. It gets under my skin when an album is longer than it needs to be and has filler or wasted space. Random Access Memories is a pretty ambitious project clocking in at 74 minutes long, but not a second is wasted. It probably helps that the album’s concept is, shall I say, less than simple. Random Access Memory is a type of computer memory, and this is important to know because throughout the album Daft Punk compares the human brain and the way that our memories are stored and associated, almost randomly, to a computer’s hard drive. Between exploring this project are songs which are just about music. I mean honestly, it’s incredible, this album is not chiefly entertainment, there aren’t political messages or ideologies being pushed on you, there aren’t even really stories being told. To me, above all else, Random Access Memories is a love letter to music, and I love it.
To be totally honest, my experiences with electronic music are few and far between, I mostly picked this album today because I love this record and wanted to write about it. Maybe I should consider exploring more electronic music, but without question, if I do, it will be because of this album. Thank you for reading this, thank Daft Punk for this awesome record, and thank Jesus for good music. God bless us, everyone. I will see you all next month!
Goodness I like music.