As a big electronic dance music fan, I have been asked by many people recently what I think of Daft Punk and their new album Random Access Memories. Now that it is just over a week after Daft Punk ended its production hiatus with the album release, my views towards the French electronic duo have solidified (and quite frankly, they are really no different than they were before RAM had released).
Essentially, I have immense respect for Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (how can you not respect someone with that name?). In the 1990s, they almost singlehandedly kicked off the electronic dance music movement. Back then, they were the only group on anyone’s radar to be producing music completely electronically. Today, EDM is the world’s fastest growing music genre and already one of the most popular. In the 2000s, Daft Punk’s live performances again almost singlehandedly kicked off the electronic dance music festival movement. Skrillex, one of the top-selling EDM artists, credits Daft Punk for causing him to ditch his heavy metal band and start producing electronic music.
When evaluating a musical artist, respect only goes so far. No one ever jams to music purely because he or she respects the artist. The artist needs to be putting out quality, enjoyable music to cause the listener to keep coming back for more. Ultimately, this is where Daft Punk falls a little short for me. I would not say they fail or anything; I just think that there are plenty of other EDM artists producing music that is more enjoyable to listen to.
Now, to address the title of this post, here is a new track by Mat Zo & Porter Robinson, two young artists who have quickly gained popularity around the world.
Anyone who has ever heard a Daft Punk song can recognize the influences of Daft Punk on this new tune. It is unfair to say Porter and Mat Zo “copied” or “ripped off” Daft Punk; it really is their own style, which is clearly influenced by Daft Punk.
What is interesting, however, is that the best part of the song is the drop sequence, where the track’s energy really picks up. We almost never hear anything like that in any Daft Punk song. Heck, Daft Punk has tracks where the same two bars are repeated for six minutes.
I picked this track not because it is the best EDM tune– there are many better ones out there– but the Daft Punk influences are very distinct, while the drop sequence stands out. It perfectly exemplifies how Daft Punk has led the EDM movement and the respect they deserve because of it, and it also shows how they fall short for my taste.
There will probably be plenty of Daft Punk loyalists who will completely berate me for this post. In the context of music, everyone has the right to listen to whatever he or she wants. Daft Punk fans can continue to be stuck in the past and talk about how profound the two bars of “Veridis Quo” are, but they are missing out on a much wider, varied, and ultimately more listenable world of EDM.