After Daft Punk went five for five in what can only be described as “Seahawking” the Grammys, their victory lap involved Random Access Memories returning to the Billboard Top 10, with a 300% increase in album sales the following week. Did your Mom or Aunt ask you who the robots were at The Grammys that Monday? Because if they did, you know why they won hard. To remind you of how big the song was, Get Lucky hit #1 in 46 countries within 12 hours of its release. It then stayed at the top of the charts for 13 weeks until being unseated by the Avicii track your mom listens to in the car & your doctor listens to in his office. A lot of people were arguing about whether Daft Punk deserved to win, but frankly, the recently certified Platinum album made an undeniable case to the voting community. It was single-handedly responsible for vinyl sales nationwide going up in 2013 for the first time in years in the UK (think about that). But what people don’t really understand is why the academy was so in love with it, independent of the undeniable numbers.
If anyone reading this went to a music festival before Electronic Dance Music really took hold in the USA, you’ll remember the Dark Ages. The metal shows and festivals became better, but the culture was on the decline. Then 2007 happened and Daft Punk toured, reminding everyone what was possible when it came to crowds of people & dance music. This tour, at the height of “Stronger” by Kanye West’s hyper-popular remix of “Harder Faster Stronger Better,” redefined what live show attendees expected. The Pyramid (as it was called) blew people away when it came to visuals, inspiring every other touring artist to add more complexity to their light shows. Compare the footage of Ultra back in 2006 with 2009 and you’ll see a great difference.
The entirety of Daft Punk’s back catalog is sample-based. This has been a chief critique of them and all electronic music for decades now. Random Access Memories is entirely originally recorded. Why? Perhaps they wanted complete control over how the sounds were being made. Now they have some of the best “source material” and can spend the next couple of years sampling it for their next album to blow our minds once again.