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We’ve been here before, the Discography Review! I enjoy doing these, and #DAFTPUNKDAY can’t even officially start until I’ve done a summary of all of Daft Punk‘s incredible albums. I am going to post a different Discography review later today, one that talks about their various remix albums, live albums and compilations. I’m also going to talk about the “Tron: Legacy” score in that post, as I refuse to consider that one of their albums. So right now, I’m just going to talk about the 4 albums that changed the game!
The ever-classic Daft Punk debut album “Homework” is a perfect introduction to the duo. The album is perfect because it displays in many forms their talents with sampling and other audio techniques, all executed so skillfully even with their limited means at the time. Guy and Thomas were able to make incredibly unique music that is timeless and can still amaze to this day. “Homework” is a true capsule of two guys who are extremely passionate about what they do, but also perfectionists in their own way. And the duo is incredibly diverse as well, giving a audio buffet of different sounds and vibes. You go from the eery feel of hit single “Da Funk”, to the breezy feel of “Fresh”, you get the heavy cymbals on happy-dance feel of “Phoenix”, and the funk and fun of “Teachers”. “Homework” is just a well rounded and timeless effort from two guys who trusted their own musical voice and went for it.
Grade: A – Best: Around the World, Fresh, Daftendirekct
Daft Punk’s sophomore album is fun, but a slightly overrated outing. The album can be found in several different “Best Of” lists, and is generally regarded as the duo’s best. It’s probably because the album is the most accessible, as Daft Punk experimented with more radio-friendly styles and worked with vocals and traditional song patterns. “Discovery” is definitely a step away from the sounds of “Homework”. And it’s a great move to show their talent and fearlessness. Sometimes the album feels intentionally corny in providing a more Disco/Dance sound, but it definitely shows some increased skills and more finesse with their instruments. Some of the duo’s best work came from this album, like the genius and now classic “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” or the lushness of some of the slower cuts like “Veridis Quo” and “Nightvision”. Even the overtly POP stuff works in doses, the single “One More Time” is undeniably infectious, as is “Face to Face” and “Digital Love”. The beauty of the album is that it’s nicely balanced, there’s never too much of one thing and you end the album feeling satisfied.
Grade: B+ Best: Harder Better Faster Stronger, Too Long, Digital Love
“Human After All”
Now I feel like this third album is the underrated one, but it’s understandable. While “Discovery” was more accessible, “Human After All” is totally jarring and rough in comparison. This album lacks the vocals of “Discovery”, which is traded in for robotic and monotone vocal play sporadically. The sounds, which are incredibly gritty at times, could have possibly alienated any new fans the duo gained with “Discovery”, but “Human” gets back to their original style with that much more finesse and skill displayed by the duo. “Technologic” is nothing short of genius, it’s clever in it’s sampling but ultimately just a funky dance track. “Emotion” and “Make Love” are two of the groups best slow burners, and tracks like “Television Rules the Nation”, “Robot Rock” and the title cut have the odd distinction of being fun but intense, funky but with a tinge of rock, dark but light enough. I will admit that some of the tracks get a little too redundant and/or noisey for me, but for a short album it’s a very satisfying one.
Grade: B Best: Technologic, Robot Rock, Make Love
For Thomas and Guy’s most recent, and Grammy award winning effort, Daft gets all grown and sexy in an album that is both nostalgic and contemporary, it’s sophisticated yet still drips with that Daft Punk weirdness we’ve become accustomed to. It’s an album with so much 70’s soul and funk and Disco inspiration, mixed with Daft’s standard keyboard wizardry, an album that should fall apart but works so effortlessly in so many ways. “Get Lucky”, the massive first single, is a great preview of the album because it’s fun and infectious and old school and still maintains that slice of Electronica. Other tracks like “Giorgio by Moroder”, “Game of Love”, “Lose Yourself to Dance” and “Bring Life Back to Music” are all so plush and sexy whether they are making you want to dance or chill. However the Daft sound isn’t drowned in the homage to the Disco era, as “Contact” “Motherboard” and “Doin’ It Right” featuring Panda Bear are elevated and futuristic Daft material. “Memories” is an Instant Classic, it shows the duo has matured over the years, they have mastered their sound, and they are continually getting better. Meaning their next album should be just as amazing as the rest of their discography.
Grade: A Best: Doin’ It Right, Giorgio by Moroder, Game of Love