It’s tempting to give this album a five-star rating, just because albums like this don’t exist anymore. A disco LP made with real drums and real strings, recorded on old-fashioned analog tape, it’s also a genuine “event” album—a hotly anticipated blockbuster with a Tarantino-esque cast of cool kids (Julian Casablancas, Panda Bear, Pharrell) and cultish forebears Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder, Paul Williams). Best of all, it sounds even better on wax than it does on paper!
Well, at least 85 to 90 percent of it does. “Lose Yourself to Dance,” one of two Pharrell collaborations, is dull and too long. I wish “Giorgio by Moroder” featured more than just a sampled interview with the man. I want the dance-y part of “Touch,” the eight-minute Paul Williams opus, to go on longer than the showtune-y part. (Not that there’s anything wrong with showtunes, but if some Soundcloud-happy DJ is down for a homemade rejiggering, consider this a none-too-subtle hint.) And while the prog-rock excursions are, uh, tres proggy, they nevertheless add a lush, epic feel to what is a truly epic album.
- Daft Punk
- Random Access Memories
Some fans will miss the filtered loops and thudding kick drums that Daft Punk built its career upon, but despite all the live orchestrations and real-time rhythms and the appearance of a Stroke, whose voice gets deliciously vocoder-ized, Random Access Memories still flaunts a big ’n’ cheesy robot heart. May it sell gazillions of copies and inspire many more like it.