Hype can only get you so far; great tunes will get you a lot further.
Speaking in a recent interview with GQ, Thomas Bangalter asked: “We’re making music for 20 years. How many bands and acts do you have that are still making good music after 20 years? It always sucks – almost always, you know?”
Until the news of ‘Random Access Memories’ started to eke out, it’s hard to think of a time that Daft Punk were considered to be making good music. Albums like ‘Human After All’ and the ‘Tron: Legacy’ soundtrack have their numerous supporters, but in the critical canon which, for better or worse, dictates a group’s legacy, the duo haven’t had a decent break since 2001’s ‘Discovery’, and that was a very long time ago.
Right now, Get Lucky is leading us to believe that Daft Punk have still got it. It’s one of those rare songs that has captured the imaginations of a huge spectrum of people in a sincere way. People like it. A lot of people love it. At a party I was at last weekend, a group of people – not music journalists or even nerds – gathered in the kitchen to listen to the song on repeat. For whatever reason, it seems to have tapped into something – since its release a week ago, it’s topped international charts and broken the Spotify streaming record, which doesn’t just happen for any old song.
Part of this, of course, comes from the build-up that surrounded it – the steady trickle of information, the 15-second teasers, the collaborative videos and the wagging tongues – but to chalk its success up to hype alone is unfair and reductive. The music industry structures designed to generate buzz, be it through carefully planned marketing campaigns like the one for ‘Random Access Memories’ or Boards Of Canada’s new album, might simply be cynical marketing ploys, but that doesn’t mean that the enjoyment that a fan gets from it is somehow less genuine. And besides: a whole lot of hype doesn’t mean something’s all hype. If people remember this song in the long run, like they do One More Time or Around The World, it’ll be because it’s a great song, not because of its viral campaign.
When ‘Random Access Memories’ is released next month, this might all change. The album could very easily be a mess, and Bangalter would be proved right. But at this very moment in time, it doesn’t really matter – what we’ve got is Get Lucky, and it’s an absolute belter.