Why It’s Too Early to Judge Daft Punk’s New Album

random32 Why Its Too Early to Judge Daft Punks New Album

The new Daft Punk album leaked, and the music world is scrambling. Thoughtful individuals are trying to process it as fast as they can in order to make an observation more astute than those around them. Journalists are trying to figure out how to rip the album to shreds, proclaim it as one of the best, or find some sensible middle ground, depending on who they write for, what’s on the agenda, and/or what they really believe. Labels, publicists, and associates are all trying to make sure that whatever busy social media platform you’re wasting time on, there is a clickable and tempting buy-link popping up.

If you’re looking for an honest and thorough assessment of Random Access Memories right now, you’re not going to find it. It takes more than a day to process an album, and everyone is just jumping in the conversation to cash in on the hot topic before we all inevitably move on. The real story about this album is more complicated than the music. It’s about a genre, a gap between who Daft Punk mattered to THEN, who Daft Punk matters to NOW, and who is still trying to figure out why, exactly, Daft Punk matters so much. It’s not a simple situation.

It’s been over eight years since Daft Punk’s last studio album, Human After All. In that time, electronic music has gone through hyperactive growth and a series of transitions that has been the most exciting and confusing mainstream music explosion since hip-hop’s genesis.

Electronic music has been around for decades, but a huge portion of the audience is new. These are kids who don’t know about disco; they don’t know about the history of house; they don’t know about where Daft Punk came from and who the fuck Paul Williams is. Is this stuff important? Sure it is (read about it here), but let’s not kid ourselves—the way we’re judging this Daft Punk album is distorted no matter who we are. Take into consideration the suspenseful roll-out, the state of electronic music, the undeniable influence of Daft Punk on so many of today’s most popular artists, and the fact that the audience is so desperately trying to wrap their heads around this as fast as possible because it’s been building up for. so. long. and. IT’S. FINALLY. HAPPENING. No matter what, it’s impossible to get a grip on Random Access Memories right now.

The new Daft Punk album is here. It has arrived. Sit with it for a minute. Let it sink in. Play it at your next party. Let it spin at 3 a.m. when you’re high/drunk/sober/happy/alone/with friends/depressed/whatever. Give it a little time. Let this album live.

The new Daft Punk album is here. It has arrived. Sit with it for a minute. Let it sink in. Play it at your next party. Let it spin at 3 a.m. when you’re high/drunk/sober/happy/alone/with friends/depressed/whatever. Give it a little time. Let this album live. Music isn’t a science—it breathes and moves, it adjusts to its surroundings. We know that everyone wants to figure this out as quickly as possible, but that’s not the way to take in music, and an album release like this one just shows more clearly than ever how unhealthy the state of music really is. We are literally trying to review albums—no, album leaks—within 24 hours. When it’s something with as much history, anticipation, and relevance as the new Daft Punk project, is that really how we want to handle it?

In all fairness, we at Pigeons & Planes felt the same pressures. We emailed about how to cover it, if we wanted to do a knee-jerk reaction after one listen, or if we’d just be late. For now, we’ll let it sit. Instead, have a look at what some professional musicians think, and if you haven’t already listened and made up your mind, stream Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories here.

  • castor7dre

    thanks confusion. Somehow I feel that you eloquently rendered exactly how I felt when I got on Facebook today and saw a trillion “DAFTOMFGPUNK ALBUM LEAKED AND IT’S THE BEST!”. New music needs to breathe. So many times it’s happened that I’ll download music, even from here, listen to it once, give it a yay or nay, then never listen to it again. Yet much later, that song will come on and I’ll wonder “what is this?? it sounds incredible!”

    I’m looking forward to this listening experience.

  • Sg1978

    Absolutely. The albums I’ve loved the most in my life have taken some getting used to. I’ve always wondered how reviewers handled the strains of reviews off the cuff. It’s good to get SOMETHING out there for anxious readers, but in my opinion, people who have to wait for reviews and wait to pounce on leaked albums aren’t really listening to music for all the right reasons. I look forward to hearing the new album over and over in many different states…

  • Paul

    It’s really difficult to give this piece any credence when right at the bottom of it is a click-generating slideshow. You position yourselves as thoughtful critics above knee-jerk reactions, but you’re absolutely no different than those you feel superior to.

    Well, that’s not entirely true. People live-tweeting their impressions of Random Access Memories aren’t supporting Complex Media. For God’s sake, have the courage of your convictions and write for an outlet that doesn’t perpetuate the stereotyping of women and minorities.

  • LarsVonSen

    receiving critique via the internet does not amount to cyber bullying

  • justkiddingnobutseriously

    Track 6 = Track of the Summer

  • NerdyDillinger

    All your base are belong to Daft Punk…

  • MistaDobalina

    Yeah based on a lot of your other reviews I would wait until a decent source reviews it and then base your off that. You would hate to call it trash and then have the major reviewers give it album of the year, complex would not approve.

  • http://twitter.com/matDASHb Jax Teller

    The official website has more details about this http://smarturl.it/DaftPunkRAM

  • PigsAndPlans

    Based on a lot of our other reviews? We don’t even really review albums. And “Complex would not approve”? Not one single time in the existence of Pigeons & Planes has anyone at Complex ever been like, “AY P&P, that review you did… we do not approve.” Don’t act like you know about shit if you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • http://twitter.com/DagoatMannn Dagoat Man

    Aight i’m just gonna point this out because it seems that nobody has said it yet:

    When daft punk released Homework in 1995, it was a commercial flop. People didn’t like how repetitive and tough it sounded, they didn’t care about house music. But it was out there, and it ended up defining electronic music for everyone

    Then when daft punk released Discovery in 2001, it really wasn’t as universally beloved as some remember (go check the pichfork review if you don’t believe me). fans and critics were disappointed. People didn’t like that it wasn’t repetitive and tough enough, that instead it was more pop oriented and was swarming with melodious details. But it was out there, and it ended up defining electronic music for everyone

    later when daft punk released Human After All in 2005, It got trashed by critics and fans alike. People didn’t like that it wasn’t melodious and detailed, that instead it was raw and brutal. But it was out there, and it ended up defining electronic music for everyone (if you don’t believe me, go listen to justice, vitalic, araab muzik, dubstep and most of what is going on in electronic music nowadays)

    Now daft punk is gonna release random Access Memories. it will probably leave a lot of people disappointed. They won’t like that it isn’t raw and brutal enough, but that it is whatever it is (i haven’t heard the whole album yet, but it’s definitely not raw and brutal). But it’ll be out there, and i’m fairly sure it’ll end up defining electronic music for everyone.

    Bottom line is, daft punk as musicians never gave a fuck about what was going on in music. They just keep making gorgeous, genre-defining albums that are always ahead of their time, and always majorly different from what they’ve made up to that point. That’s why they wait so long between albums. That’s why they don’t release songs every other day. You can’t say you’re disappointed that it doesn’t sound like what you expected it to, because there’s no way to anticipate what the next Daft Punk album will sound like. If you havent gotten that after 18 years of Daft Punk, then you have no business listening to their new albums. Just wait until everyone catches up to their last output after 5 years, and then be like “i guess it turns out that album was the shit”.

    I say long live the robots

  • boom4real

    It’s not that it’s trash or took little attempt to make, those views are left for those who don’t make music. For those who make it we all know the hard work that goes into creating it.

    As a dj, I rummage through music whenever I have free time. I’d say about 15 hours a week. The electronic scene has split in many different directions since daft punk’s crossover from raves to the radio.

    On the new album Daft Punks attempt to step out of their comfort zone could have a been positive thing, especially working with maestro’s like Nile Rogers. However, their attempt at a live sound, has created an overproduction which be heard on the easy listening station.

    If I wanna here disco, I’m gonna grab the records Larry Levan was playing, you know in it’s hey day. If anyone is doing disco right these days lets give it up to hercules and love affair, midnight magic and even metronomy for dropping a thick disco bass line on us from time time. Right now at this point, for me, this album is not a game changer, and they cannot all be.

  • Pat Crossman

    Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on Come on

    Daft punk needs bitch slapped for this shitty album

  • Bobby Saban

    Lose Yourself to Dance video: http://smarturl.it/DPLYTD