Published Dec 03, 2013
1. Daft Punk
Random Access Memories
You can tell how much of an instant game changer Random Access Memories was by the pure stealth of its backlash. Within weeks of its release, bloggers and critics were declaring that "('Insert electronic album here') was actually better than Random Access Memories." Yet anyone who was able to separate the hype from the art can attest: simply nothing was more inventive and imaginative than Random Access Memories.
While Disclosure have won over the music press by employing modern tropes (chopped and screwed samples) and capitalizing on the popularity of du-jour guest singers (AlunaGeorge, Jessie Ware), Random Access Memories obstinately comes off as their giddy antithesis. Using more singular and personality-rich elements, Daft Punk incorporate Todd Edwards' vulnerability, Julian Casablancas' confidence and Paul Williams' naked WTF-ness into their own swirling universe.
Even in the moments when Daft Punk don't sound like Daft Punk, Random Access Memories still sounds incredibly consistent and focused, as "Doin' it Right" shows just how much they understand what makes Animal Collective so alluring while Chilly Gonzales helps give the robotic duo their first truly heartbreaking ballad ("Within"). And what more can be said about the biggest, non-rapey hit of the summer, "Get Lucky"?
With their fourth and finest LP, Daft Punk have managed to create a thematically dense, multi-faceted, complex masterpiece with a simple purpose: give life back to music. (Daniel Sylvester)