Who knew that from 1993 to 2021 two talented robots would take the world by storm with their unique dance music? Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, otherwise known as Daft Punk, have been pioneers in the dance and electronic genres for almost three decades. With six Grammys and two world tours under their belts, they've brought their own style of funk and mechanical melodies to the EDM world.
With electronic sounds leaking into today's pop, rock, rap, and even country records, it's not an overstatement to say Daft Punk had some influence in shaping modern music. The duo even invented the concept of the bedroom producer when they released their 1997 debut Homework. Several artists - including Skrillex, Kanye West, LCD Soundsystem, and Panda Bear - consider them heroes.
Last month, Daft Punk announced their retirement from the music scene. They released a video on YouTube to go along with the news, called Epilogue. It features a scene of Homem-Christo and Bangalter from their 2006 film Electroma with a title card and the song "Touch" playing at the end.
Although the film is unclear as to why the robots called it quits, it reassures fans that the French DJs are aware of the legacy they've left behind. And it's a pretty amazing legacy: more than most artists and groups hope to achieve in their careers.
While we're sad to see the robots go, we thought we'd pay our respects to an iconic act that has changed the music world for the better. Here's Live365's Top 10 Daft Punk songs!
10. "Get Lucky" (feat. Pharrell Williams)
Perhaps Daft Punk's last greatest hit of their career, this early 2010s song was a breath of fresh air in the midst of oversaturated pop radio station picks.
Nile Rodgers's riffs bring a smooth 70s groove that's hard not to love. Pharrell's vocals on this track turned him from a niche music producer only hardcore music geeks knew into a mainstream artist. While his voice dominates "Get Lucky," the robots swoop in with a vocoded bridge hook that reminds listeners who's really in charge.
The only reason "Get Lucky" is last on this list is because it got overplayed - like, a lot. Because every radio station blasted it back in 2013, Pharrell's clunky lyrics got old fast. Still, the song deserves a top 10 nod. After all, "Get Lucky" won the robots two Grammys: one for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and another for Record of the Year. That night, Random Access Memories would also take home a golden gramophone for Album Of The Year. They got lucky!
9. "Robot Rock"
The lead single from Daft Punk's third album Human After All, this electronic rock song contains a sample of Breakwater's "Release The Beast." While this track's main criticism is its repetitiveness, Daft Punk is smart about using Breakwater's guitar riff. They chop it up, but never mess with the beat too much.
On top of that, "Robot Rock" also has the robots' signature vocoderized refrains. It's a funky march perfect for a robot takeover...or maybe for a cool car commercial.
8. "Starboy" (The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk)
Would The Weeknd be as successful as he is now without Daft Punk's help on Starboy? Who knows. But one thing's certain: he and the robots make a pretty good team.
While the "Starboy" single may not be as popular as "I Feel It Coming," it's got more depth in terms of sound and lyrical content. "Starboy" is about The Weeknd coming to terms with his newfound fame. After a fruitful studio session with Daft Punk, he decided to make this song the title track of his third studio album.
“Their studio is like a spaceship, there’s a lot of gear,” he told The Wall Street Journal, "but the way they make music, the way they explain it, is very cinematic. It’s like they’re reading a page out of a novel: 'We want to make sure that at the end, it feels like the sun’s coming up, and maybe there’s a car chase.’ They can get technical, but it was interesting how they visualize making music.”
7. "Digital Love"
It's as if Daft Punk created a song for every lovesick teenager out there. "Digital Love" is a dreamy electropop jam that makes you want to dance in your pajamas, but also makes you wonder what your crush is up to right now.
"Digital Love" takes its sample from the opening of “I Love You More” by George Duke. DJ Sneak wrote the lyrics and Daft Punk performed them with their signature vocoded vocals. The chill bridge was recorded on a Wurlitzer piano, the same piano that gave Supertramp its signature sound. Believe it or not, the solo was not played on guitars, it was actually created by mixing the effects of music sequencers. Pretty sweet.
6. "Something About Us"
While "Digital Love" is the bop you play when you're first falling for a crush, "Something About Us" is the perfect song to cry to when that same crush breaks your heart.
It's rare to hear a sad, slow track from the robots, but "Something About Us" proves the French duo can do ballads just as well as upbeat songs. The quiet keys and jazzy bass paint a deep, intimate picture between a lover and his unrequited love. The lyrics are honest and painful, but also cathartic.
An underrated hit, "Crescendolls" is the song you can imagine playing in the background while going on a shopping spree on Hollywood Boulevard or tearing up the dance floor in Cancun. If money, fame, or a sugar rush had a sound, this would be it.
"Crescendolls" loops a funky break from Little Anthony and the Imperials' “Can You Imagine” and cranks up the party factor.
4. "Da Funk"
Released in 1995 before appearing on Homework two years later, “Da Funk” was the French duo's first commercial hit. A booming base reminiscent of West Coast g-funk blasts on this track. It's layered with a hammering kick-drum and swirling synth riff. Street sounds and urban nightlife samples are the cherry on top.
It is said "Da Funk" was inspired by Warren G's "Regulate" and was Daft Punk's attempt at a gangsta rap beat. While it hasn't been used in any iconic hip hop songs to date, the music video for this track is its own work of art.
3. "Around the World"
So simple, yet incredibly catchy. Homework's biggest song with an astounding music video to boot, "Around the World" is an audiophile's dream. There are so many layers and added effects that every time you replay this hit, you can hear something new.
Besides "Da Funk," this was the song that put Daft Punk on the map back in the 90s. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the phrase "around the world" is repeated 144 times.
2. "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"
This song was many people's first introduction to Daft Punk's discography. Who can forget the buzz around "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" back in the early 2000s? That viral Daft Hands video on YouTube! That time it played on a special presentation on Cartoon Network's Toonami! Those were the days.
There's a reason Kanye West's "Stronger," which famously sampled this song, became a massive hit. It's the same reason why so many fitness gurus have this tune saved to their workout playlist. "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" is the Red Bull of electronic dance music: it gives listeners the energy and intensity to do anything.
Additionally, this song is infused with the fun and groove similar Daft Punk tracks, like "Technologic," lack. It's an anthem for overachievers and perfectionists. And that vocoder-turned-guitar bit? Fantastic.
1. "One More Time"
The party anthem of all party anthems, this song was actually criticized when it was first released in 1998 because of its use of vocoder. Thankfully, nothing could stop its speedy rise through the charts and "One More Time" is still a bop in 2021.
This is the song Daft Punk will always be remembered for. They sat on it for two years just to make sure it was perfect when released. To create the opening track to Discovery, the French duo chopped up and repurposed horns from Eddie Johns’ 1979 song “More Spell on You.” We dare you to listen to that song - the sample Daft Punk uses is practically untraceable. Is it this horn or that horn? Who knows!
The result of Daft Punk's brass tinkering and Romanthony's amazing vocals is an irresistable piece of dance music that will make you celebrate all night. Play this song one more time!
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