Daft Punk’s Album Flop Vs. The Future of Music:
Daft Punk’s long awaited album Random Access Memories is a heavy contender for the most hyped release of the decade. After seven years of nail-biting anticipation(oh this definitely included us), it’s premature debut was greeted by a deafening yawn that resonated across the world. Sales of their 4th studio release dropped by 73% just after the second week of being on shelves and digital download. Astonishingly, despite the pre-ordered purchases (done without the influence of critical reviews or leaks at the time we might add) and the incredible media build up, in the first week the robotic duo only sold 338,677 copies and landed a No.1 spot on the Billboard Charts. In the second week they sold 92,677 copies, a substantial decrease, and will “get lucky” if they hit a million by the fall. Granted that this is easily described as a triumph for any artist and i’m sure they feel the same, but lets face it, this is Daft Punk‘s first album in seven years.
The forefathers of the modern electronic movement, the ones we look to for salvation, have failed, and the struggle for creative satisfaction has gone terminal. Is this really true though?
Of course you have the undying loyalty of their fanbase who will justify every and any aspect of the album in fear of losing their heroes, especially when those very icons are some of the few that can help to reverse the progression of mediocrity in contemporary music. Now don’t misconstrue what this article is getting at; RAM is without a doubt a demonstration of their ability to produce and make music. We’re not reviewing the album, simply analyzing it’s effect. It is however a step in a very different direction in contrast to their previous work.
Another writer purposed to me an idea that Daft Punk’s new album was never meant to be another declaration of their magnanimous talent, but rather an admirable attempt to show the current demographic of our generation that electronic was still important, and was a tool to make real music of all types. They want the future generations to keep focus on the music itself, not just the image of DJing, the superficiality of which is destroying what started out as a musical revolution. This concept does make sense when you think about who Daft Punk really is. If this is the case, and that is in fact what their agenda was in making this album, then what does that say about our generation when considering how Random Access Memories was received? Perhaps this is an indicator of the official death of mainstream. The intention may not have been for the public majority to like it as theorized, but if it is to be used by the future generation to keep innovation in EDM alive, then it must be canonized to some degree by our generation. In order to reach such a profound and noble effect, the message needs to be delivered. We don’t usually cover topics of the mainstream, but this affects the core of music itself, and the definition of modern and future cultures. Your icons, the genuinely unique and original musicians you idolize today, their artistic instincts are a traced to roots, to influence, and to history, even if they are making it as they go. If the fundamental standards of music continue to warp into a fashion show and keep pushing imagination out of the status quo, then who knows what American music will be reduced to 20 years from now.
Even if this theory is a bust, and Random Access Memories is just another legendary “flop”, music of the masses is in desperate need of another revolution. Daft Punk may very well be fighting a cause, but that’s really irrelevant, because it is up to us to win it.