Why are Daft Punk so popular again?

Daft Punk fans, show your faces! Or don't.
Daft Punk fans, show your faces! Or don’t.

The year 2013 may very well be remembered as the year of the victory lap. From “Arrested Development” to the Postal Service and Neutral Milk Hotel, entertainment that was underappreciated during its time is returning to bask in the love it should have initially received.

In some instances, the adulation is surprising. In other cases it’s inevitable. For Daft Punk it’s a little bit of both. The hype surrounding the dance and house duo from Paris and their new album, “Random Access Memories,” is a surprise because their last official album, 2005’s “Human After All,” was met with a resounding meh. But it’s inevitable, because since then, the music that they had been pioneering since the late ’90s has become wildly popular.

Did you see how we called Daft Punk a “dance and house” act in the above paragraph? That’s because when we popped “RAM” into our computers, that’s how Daft Punk registered the genre with iTunes. While they arguably play what is now called electronic dance music, or EDM, that genre name seemed to surface during their absence. In fact, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, one half of the helmeted duo, recently admitted to the British publication New Music Express that he had no idea what people were talking about when they mentioned EDM.

“I don’t know EDM artists or the albums,” he said. “At first I thought it was all just one guy, some DJ called EDM.”

But “Random Access Memories” will appeal to people who know all about EDM and to people who don’t know a thing about it. It’s a dance album with high profile guest stars — Pharrell Williams, Julian Casablancas and Nile Rogers, to name a few — who never steal the spotlight from their hosts. The interesting part about the album though, is that it flies in the face of what people might expect a Daft Punk album would sound like in 2013, because it almost sounds like what any album produced by Giorgio Moroder might sound like in 1979. In fact, the 73-year-old disco pioneer is also a guest star on the album, on a winking track titled, “Giorgio By Moroder.”

When the duo could so easily satisfy EDM-hungry fans, why would they play so far against form? Because playing against form is what made fans so excited for Daft Punk to return in the first place.

When Metro spoke with Thomas Mars of Phoenix earlier this month, we asked about the internet speculation that Daft Punk would join his band for a few songs at Coachella, as they had done a few years prior at Madison Square Garden. Phoenix tapped R. Kelly as their special guest instead.

Mars had a good reason for not calling his old friends to join them.

“You know what’s nice is that we decided to do Madison Square Garden,” he said, “because we thought, ‘How many chances were there that friends that grew up in the suburbs of Paris who were making music at the same time would be having success at the same time?’ and we had to do something together. But then once you do it, I think you have done it. What I love about their music is that they have such a strong concept. They always go in the direction, they always want to shape the future and we try to do the same thing, and try to go to places where we surprise ourselves, where you change the rules each time a bit. And so that would have been just some sort of disturbing victory lap, or an embarrassing victory lap.”

So while Daft Punk is doing a victory lap of sorts, they’re doing it on their own track.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…