Honestly, cross my heart and all that, I was always going to nominate ‘Instant Crush’ rather than ‘Get Lucky’. Does this face look like it would be dishonest? Trust me, I’m a Liberal Democrat.
Clearly this nomination was destined to happen through fate and fortune, as Daft Punk went and released the video to ‘Instant Crush’ yesterday, and that was entirely within my rough-and-ready/don’t-really-have-one timetable. I have not always subscribed to the Daft Punk newsletter, to be honest. All the Big Hits from their archive bopped my head and dancing feet and that’s where I begin and end. Not ignorance, not investment, I subscribed to the existence of Daft Punk up-to-and-including the device through which their music was being played. Alas, reader, I did not, and do not, own any Daft Punk records.
This year seemed to start off with two unexpected albums being poured over with expert (and no so expert) analysis; Bowie’s “The Next Day” and Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories”, both of which welcomed as though the two had descended from the heavens. The reaction to the latter began to froth and bubble and then, noticeably, calm down. Was the roll call of supporting stars and featured artists indicative of a group needing a lift-up, or shrewd artists right on message? That song did more for the album than any teaser campaign at festivals ever could, raising a duo already considered well-known into new levels of notoriety and saturation, a result I think may have fed back into post-release expectations of the album.
At the first play through of “Random Access Memories” via the medium of Grooveshark and YouTube, two broad conclusions came up to meet me; the album is strong whilst not obviously future proofed; it’s consciously festival friendly and not necessarily all the worse for so being. The track “Instant Crush” did for me far more than that song did, it had a different feel, more substance and deeper, broader approach. Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas was reproduced as a vocoder robot, his singing voice barely left untouched as each verse and chorus folded onto and into each other. Where….[sighs]…”Get Lucky” bounded about in the fashion of a children’s television presenter, “Instant Crush” was the late night chatshow, threatening to go off-script but just about staying inside the lines.
The video is a curious little beast. Two wax models flirt with each other, insofar as they can, whilst Casablancas struts, poses, dances and hand-gestures his way through the song in rapidly edited cut-aways. It looks nice, if not entirely cool, and bless his multi-layered fabrics, but yer man can’t mime to save his life. Mixmag’s three reviewers were mixed on “Instant Crush” – “a wimpy soundtrack to a Converse…advert”, “super retro feel”, “seems a little dull”. If constant repeats of the other one brought discontent, hopefully the opposite result will come from this. I suspect for the good of the next album, were there to be one, it needs to succeed.