With the release of Random Access Memories, we see the robotic personas of Daft Punk at their most human: vulnerable, confused, trying to catch youth and bottle it in a mason jar. The record, while ultimately a departure from the repetitive cadence of house music, exudes a new experimental sound as the duo dip their feet into live instrumentation and moan out lyrics of profundity and introspectiveness, truly ushering in a new Daft Punk. Don’t rush all at once searching for your favorite lyric; we at Stereo IQ are now counting down the top ten lyrics on Random Access Memories to save you some time.
– John Dickinson
10. The Game of Love
“And it was you/
The one that would be breaking my heart/
When you decided to walk away”
Has science done it? Can robots finally feel emotion? Here we finally see Daft Punk break from their stoic anonymity, showing here that they too deal with the lingering pain of a lost lover and feelings of abandonment.
“There are so many things that I don’t understand/
There’s a world within me that I cannot explain/
Many rooms to explore, but the doors look the same/
I am lost, I can’t even remember my name”
In Within, the duo admit their confusion and surrounding their place in the world. Both approaching the age of 40, maybe Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo, are realizing that the music scene they helped to pioneer is changing all around them. This, combined with the typical mid-life crisis, may elicit these feelings from the duo.
“If you lose your way tonight
That’s how you know the magic’s right”
Guest collaborator and member of experimental psychedelic group Animal Collective, Noah Lennox (better known by the sobriquet Panda Bear) adds his own touch of youthful ignorance to Random Access Memories. As a man that’s partaken in his fair share of hallucinogens, Lennox urges listeners to not take life so seriously, and cut loose every now and then. Who knows, you may just end up partying with Daft Punk.
“A tourist in a dream/
A visitor it seems/
A half-forgotten song/
Where do I belong”
Academy Award-winning songwriter Paul Williams sings of unfamiliarity in his own skin on Touch, and questions his purpose in life. He alludes to memory, which seems to be a common theme throughout the album, and probably the inspiration for the album’s title. Maybe Williams should take note from fellow Daft Punk collaborator and last name sharer Pharrell who seems to be having his fair share of fun these days.
“You are the night, you are the ocean/
You are the light behind the cloud/
You are the end and the beginning/
A world where time is not allowed”
The duo gives high praise to a certain special somebody in Beyond. “The beginning and the end” is a common biblical phrase used to refer to God, sometimes written as “the Alpha and the Omega.” So here Daft Punk must be comparing a girl to God, or at least giving her godlike qualities. Apparently, she’s also powerful enough to transcend time and space. Sounds like a keeper.
“Touch, sweet touch/
You’ve given me too much to feel/
You’ve almost convinced me I’m real”
Paul Williams is on a metaphysical roll on Random Access Memories. Here, he ponders as to whether or not the ability to feel truly makes one human. You could pinpoint this one somewhere in between solipsism and idealism. Either that, or just assert that Williams has lost faith in the transient pleasures of touch.
“And we will never be alone again/
Cause it doesn’t happen everyday/
Kinda counted on you being a friend”
On “Instant Crush,” guest collaborator and The Strokes‘ vocalist Julian Casablancas bemoans the stresses of a committed relationship, and he unrealistic expectations of marriage, possibly with longtime Strokes manager and wife Juliet Casablancas. Clearly, Jules thought he would never be alone again in holy matrimony, but he soon realizes that due to a rockstar’s busy schedule and the birth of a child, man and wife may not have so much time for each other after all.
“To find a way we lose control/
Remember love, the holy mission/
This is the journey of the soul”
On Random Access Memories, it would seem as though Daft Punk have dedicated themselves to a greater cause: love. Coming back to the theme of “losing control”, through music (either with or without the aid of drugs), the duo seem to feel there’s a strong connection between love and music. And for two guys who blazed the trail for electronic music, we feel inclined to trust them on that.
“I’ve been, for some time, looking for someone/
I need to know them/
Please tell me who I am”
If you were to just read the first two lines of this stanza, you may consider Within to be about growing distant from a lover. But the third line adds an unexpected, introspective twist – Daft Punk seem to be referring to themselves. The duo must be unsure of their own identities, and it just might be because of their $65,000 LED helmets.
“One thousand lonely stars/
Hiding in the cold/
Take it, oh I don’t wanna sing anymore”
It’s hard to picture the ever-confident Julian Casablancas in any form except donned in a leather jacket, beer in hand. And yet, in the number one lyric on Random Access Memories, he admits feeling discontented with both his personal and professional life. Though one of the most decorated singers in modern rock, he feels to be merely one star among thousands in the sky, and even expresses his boredom with the lifestyle. After all, he’s been doing it since the Clinton Administration.