Analysis on the music and beats of Daft Punk's, Random Access Memories (2013)

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Daft Punk's noteworthy influence on the world's electronic dance music has been the focus of many articles and literature discussions with scholars being fascinated by their ageless sound and cross generational appeal (Mills 16). Active since 1993, the French duo are responsible for the creation and performance of some of the most remarkable pieces of art in the house music genre. Their adoption of techno, synthpop, rock and punk influences propelled them into international infamy with audiences from all over the world taking notice of their unique sound and ingenious composition. However, one of the most interesting features that make Daft Punk incredibly prolific and perhaps the primary reason for their sustained relevance is their eccentric robotic voice. The duo's modest integration of autotune in their creations has been a primary source of see for the group and significantly contributed to their notoriety in the global music scene. One of the group's best received albums yet was Random Access Memories.

Thesis Statement

Despite featuring numerous modern influences, Daft Punk’s music remains largely unadulterated electronic dance with a disco inclination. Their creations’ timeless nation is fundamentally one of the major reasons behind the band’s massive critical acclaim. The article will ascertain that despite the monumental changes traditional popular music has undergone, Daft Punk’s compositions have remain relatively the same over the duo’s 25-year career with critique of the band’s latest release, Random Access Memory, used as testament of this hypothesis.

Random Access Memories

Critical Assessment

The studio album, which was Daft Punk's fourth, was released by Columbia Records on May 17th 2013. Listening through the 75 minute long record, one instantly recognises the immense influence of 70's and 80's punk music influences. The album particularly draws extensively from tunes most popularised by artists from Los Angeles. The theme is best memorialised in the album's cover photo which includes a transposed photo of portraits of the duo's headgears. The left half is an image of a 1970's themed mask representing the immense impact classic music had on the development of the album's context, videos, and other audio characteristics such as the melody, rhythm, texture, tempo, and the timbre.

 The right hand side half of the image exhibits a more modern, urban mask perhaps demonstrating the contemporary nature of the composition and the influences of modern musician it. The cover photo itself is an adequate introduction to the transgenerational experience the songs relish. Random Access Memories contain thirteen songs including Give Life Back to Music, Contract, Doin It Right, Fragments of Time, Motherboard, Get Lucky, Touch, Lose Yourself to Dance, Instant Crush, Within, Giorgio by Morose, and The Game of Love. The perceptively carefully crafted tunes differ in each song but contain the same fundamental electronic component that each of the duo's creations contain.

The group has featured artists from across the global music spectrum with several noteworthy names being involved in the project. Some notable personalities Daft Punk worked with in Random Access Memories include Pharrell Williams, Chilly Gonzales, Nile Rodgers, Panda Bear and Dj Falcon.

Random Access Memories is different from Daft Punk's other works in a couple of ways including the successful replacement of the electronic instruments the band has often previously heavily relied on. Instead, the duo recruited session musicians to perform live during the recording sessions with the audios being dominated by vintage vocoders, modular synthesizers, and drum machines. The album received massive critical acclaim scoring an enviable 87% on review aggregating website, Metacritic. Many of its singles were extensively critiqued, appearing on the lists of many renowned music pundits. Random Access Memories is one of the group's most successful albums yet, topping charts in over 25 countries worldwide.

The release was Daft Punk's first record to top the Billboard 200 and sold more than 339,000 copies in the first week alone. The studio album's release marked the beginning of one of the most eventful periods in the duo's history. Random Access Memories would go on to win several coveted awards including Best Engineered Album-Non Classical, Best Dance/ Electronica Album, and Album of the Year at the 56the Grammy Awards. The lead record, Get Lucky, was a huge critical and commercial success toping charts in more than 30 countries for weeks on end. The single also won Grammy Awards for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Record of the Year.


The analysis of this section will be achieved by examining the records in exclusion as each of them possess different content and other creative characteristics. However, as the duo’s sound and artistic perspective is fundamentally uniform throughout the album, the two most popular songs, Lose Yourself to Dance, and Get Lucky will be analysed and assumed to be representative of all songs in the record. The two singles have received massive airplay, and as such, have been extensively critically examined.

Get Lucky/ Lose Yourself to Dance

Headlining the studio album, Random Access Memories is the track, Get Lucky. The track is arguably of the Daft Punk’s most recognizable releases. The song is largely responsible for the massive success realised by the album. Lose Yourself to Dance is another widely critiqued single from the album. The song also Pharrell Williams whose vocal acumen exquisitely complimented the track’s beats and content resulting in what Hills (16) refers to as a creative masterpiece.


As Reynolds (7) posits, the song is exceedingly infectious with a memorable funk-flavoured ode inspired by 1970’s disco. The track’s masterful integrations of non-electronic instrumental beats strike a chord with listeners who become nostalgic of the classic pop music genre from which the music daws its inspiration. Daft Punk’s resourcefulness was best showcased in the album, recreating an electronic dance music effect from mechanicals sounds from contemporary instruments, a move that is widely uncommon in this creative age.

Lyrical Content/ Plot and Narrative Approach

Daft Punk’s radio-friendly nature is occasioned primarily by the over-simplicity of their albums’ lyrical content and narrative approach (Reynold 14. Whether they are exploring a theme of romantic love or creating a party anthem, the duo ensures that their content exhibits some extent of social sensitivity and culture appropriateness as demonstrated throughout Random Access Memories. While being modest with its vocabulary, Daft Punk was keen to create poetic content that both captivated the audiences and kept them intellectually stimulated. For instance, Get Lucky opens with the phrases “Like the legend of the phoenix, All ends with beginnings, What keeps the planet spinning (uh), The force of love beginning, Performance Style (Mills 16),” wording that is both melodic and incredibly poetic.


Daft Punk’s departure from its traditional usage of digital instrument is one of the most noteworthy characteristics in their performance style of the two singles and the entire album at large.

Coachella Festival

According to Mills (16), Daft Punk's performance at the Coachella festival on April 13th 2013 is one of the biggest highlights of the group's career and one of the most stellar live audience presentations by an electronic music band yet. The performance would be etched in the records of many critics as one of the most illustrious moments in pop music, with the duo being largely credited for the positive experience the revellers intimated to have received during the six-day annual event. The album's release had been hyped several years before the festival and was highly anticipated. The announcement during the event would be met with positive reception among fans who hitherto, had not been informed of the plan to have Daft Punk headline Coachella. Attendees at the festival were awe-struck by the band’s masterful display of both raw natural talent and advanced instrumental competency with many of them noting that the performance was the climax of the event. As one Coachella reveller intimated “Bizarrely, Daft Punk appeared to have won the festival without setting foot outside the backstage area: frankly, you wouldn't have wanted to be the band that had to follow their advert on stage (Pitchfork.Com 1).” The performance would be riveting according to many critics, an indication of the band's evolving yet fundamentally customary musical sensibilities

Culture and Historical Content

The influence of 1870s and 80’s classical music of Random Access Memories is undeniable. From the discotheque themed sonnet of the tracks to the flashy and luxurious and extravagant fashions of the late 20th century in the video. As Pitchfork.Com (n.p) explains, the band attempts to stay true to its 90’s roots which endeavouring to stay relevant in the immensely dynamic global music scene, with massive success.


The article reviewed Daft Punk’s latest studios album release, Random Access Memories with the view of understanding its unique creative dimensions and as well as outline its huge commercial and critical success. The report included a detailed overview of the album, its constituent songs and live performances. An analysis of the music was also performed with the songs Get Lucky and Lose Yourself to Dance being critiqued to determine attributes such as plot/ narrative, historical and cultural context, lyrical content, beats, beats and performances.

The article sought to determine if despite the massive commercial success and notoriety in the global music scene, Daft Punk’s has maintained its characteristic electronic dance sound that propelled to international stardom. The report ascertains that while the duo has endeavoured to incorporate numerous contemporary influences including the featuring of various artists, its composition have maintained a consistent creative perspective and characteristics throughput the years within the album, Random Access Memories ascertaining this fact.





Works Cited

Hills, Matt. "From Dalek half balls to Daft Punk helmets: Mimetic fandom and the crafting of replicas." Transformative Works & Cultures 16 (2014).

Pitchfork.Com."Daft Punk: Random Access Memories Album Review | Pitchfork". Pitchfork.Com, 2018, Accessed 20 Apr 2018.

Reynolds, Simon. Energy flash: A journey through rave music and dance culture. Faber & Faber, 2013.

October 05, 2023


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