Daft Punk did a wonderful job drawing me into intense anticipation of their new album Random Access Memories with not only the release of the undeniably catchy single “Get Lucky”, but moreso even with their Collaborators series that introduced the many artists and musicians they brought in to help with the album. I was especially pleased and surprised to hear that Panda Bear was one such collaborator. I’m a huge fan of Panda Bear and Animal Collective, and would never have thought that the two would/could collaborate on any level. So as I’ve been awaiting Daft Punk’s album release, I’ve mostly just been waiting in anticipation of the particular track that features Panda Bear. So finally as Daft Punk’s very ambitious album was released today, I went straight to the track I’d been awaiting, “Doin’ It Right.”
So how’s the track? In a few words, pretty darn good. I really like it, and I believe it is one of the best 2-3 tracks on the album. It is a simple track but blends the iconic and excellent vocoder sounds from Daft Punk with Panda Bear’s great, lightly syncopated choir boy vocals. It is instantly catchy, and instantly recognizable. It has a similar slow groove style to the rest of the album, but plays a bit more on the electro-pop side. It is one of the few tracks that hearkens just a bit back to older Daft Punk works, and so it settles with me better than the rest of the album.
I won’t give a full review to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories as there are plenty of other more qualified persons around the net to do so. But I’ll give you my impressions as they stand right now. That being, that while Daft Punk may very well have achieved something here with their focus on analog recording techniques, collaborations, and styles that throw back to the 70s and 80s, I think this record will likely alienate and frustrate many longtime fans and followers of the French duo. I personally feel like the songs flow together more like a Daft Punk “Slow Jams” album, and I find myself uninterested in a lot of the songs. Yes, there is a lot of “groove.” Yes, the songs are well done, but certainly have a randomness that’s all painted over in their shiny production gloss. There is not as much edge and innovation as their standout albums from the past (Homework and Discovery.) Random Access Memories is not a bad album, but I’m not the biggest fan of it overall. Perhaps it will grow on me, but for now the Panda Bear track is the primary song that is Doin’ It Right for my ears.