It has been good reading various pieces of reflection and commentary about their legacy:
Beyond the singles, their visual identity, interstellar mystique, and party-music ethos inspired generations of artists across genres. LCD Soundsystem’s breakout song, “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House,” captured the duo’s paradoxical embodiment of hipster cool even as their singles dominated airwaves. They released several batches of incredible holiday merch. They were sampled by R&B greats Janet Jackson and Jazmine Sullivan, parodied in Family Guy and Powerpuff Girls, and celebrated in art galleries around the world.
Daft Punk were nowhere and everywhere. Especially toward the end of their 28-year run, the Parisian dance music pioneers operated under a veil of secrecy, disappearing for long stretches between projects and hiding their faces behind robot masks whenever they did return to the spotlight. They’ve essentially spent the eight years since their hit-spawning, Grammy-winning 2013 swan song Random Access Memories steadily fading from view. Yet by the time they announced their breakup today, they had become such a presence within pop culture that their music was regularly manifesting on some of the grandest stages imaginable, be it Abel Tesfaye stalking the stadium to their computerized backing vocals at the Super Bowl halftime show or a fish-like Techno Troll spinning “One More Time” at an underwater rave in Trolls World Tour.
Of course what I hadn’t appreciated was this was all warming up to Random Acces Memories (2013), I initially dismissed this record personally as all the air play of Get Lucky and it’s commercial success really put me off however once I finally sat down and listened to the record I realised the master piece it is.
This is so far from the worst thing that has happened in the past year but I am unexpectedly emotional about this.
My favourite thing for today is people replying to tweets about Daft Punk and saying that what they do isn’t even that HARD if you just knew ANYTHING about music. Best coffee-break-tweet-scroll in a while.
Perhaps French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu had it right when he said that profits can be derived from “disinterestedness”. Indeed Daft Punk’s marketing succeeded because of its highlighted rejection of the most obvious, unromantic mechanisms of commerce.
Many have discussed how Daft Punk has soundtracked their lives. I think that soundtrack is the right word. Although I have all their albums and know all the drops and clicks to annoy my children with when we play their music – thanks Trolls World Tour – however, much of their music has been on the periphery. It was not until Random Access Memories that I was truly captured by the music. Similar to my recent experience with Tame Impala, I think that this was as much about where I was at with my tastes. In particular, I was taken by the blend of sounds presented, with my highlight being Giorgio by Moroder
My hope is that it might be the end of one chapter and the start of another. For example, Thomas Bangalter has ventured out beyond the duo in the past with Stardust. As Tom Breihan suggests:
Daft Punk hadn’t made any music in the eight years before they posted that video. This wasn’t a band breakup. It was the retirement of a shared persona. It was the end of the helmets.