My First Time: Daft Punk - Homework

Friends, this latest musical journey has me waist-deep in a bit of a soul-search.  It’s amazing how at times in our lives we pick up - or in some cases subconsciously conjure up - inaccurate narratives about certain bands.  And so it came to pass at some point in the late 90’s that I began to believe that Daft Punk was a hardcore German metal band.  And since German metal (or electronic pop for that matter) never entered my genres of choice over the years, I maintained this absurd notion until just a few days ago.  I have no idea how this happened, but at least a few times I’ve skipped right on past some mention of Daft Punk in one publication or another; thinking, “No way man, that German shit scares me.”  

So when I flipped on Homework at your suggestion, needless to say, I got quite the surprise.  I had been amping myself up for some super hardcore metal with harsh-sounding German lyrics, but of course, what I got instead can only be described as pulsating electronica.  A little into the album opener “Daftendirekt” when the synth joins the fuzzy vocals and drum machine, that’s the moment when I realized there wasn’t going to be screeching guitar kicking in.  I had to stop the album and take a quick trip over to Wikipedia where my eyes were opened.  So I restarted the album with a clearer mind, and the first thing that grabbed me was that first bit where the fuzzy, non-melodic vocals suddenly become clearer as the drums kick in and they fuse together into a bass-bumping, super-cool opening song.

As a 40+ year old dude sitting at a desk listening to it while working, this album is probably a completely different experience than it is for a 20-year-old at the club rolling his (or her) balls off and prancing about.  That said, it was kind of a great album to play while doing desk-work.  Those repetitive but jamming beats somehow fueled the creative juices nicely, and I cranked out some solid shit; head bobbing side-to-side the whole time.  If I had physically been in the office, I’m sure it would have been a nice little spectacle.  In addition, as a dude who loves lyrics it’s kind of nice to have an album with almost none.  It allowed me to zone into the work to a nice beat… that Tableau dashboard is fucking lit you guys, I promise you.

So getting into the guts of the album, of course, I recognized “Da Funk” and “Around the World” immediately when I heard them.  Had no idea what band was behind them, but whatevs, they are catchy as hell and it’s no surprise they got so popular.  But my favorite song on the album after multiple listens is “Revolution 909.”  I absolutely love the post-apocalyptic feel to it.  The beat and melody conjure up feelings of underground resistance against the futuristic Big Brother.  Fuck the man and his laser gun factory we need to DAAAAAAANCE!!!

Finally, I gotta talk about robots.  I have no idea to what degree my enjoyment of this album is due to the fact that they wore robot masks and actually claimed to be robots.  It’s so completely up my alley, even if the style of music is not.  The image of two dudes wearing crazy-ass robot masks while laying down “Burnin’” for instance is just so delightful.  The repetition of that Mario-jump sound effect over and over to that beat is so old-school futuristic (if that makes any sense), inspires mental images of some weird ass dude bumping jams in his basement while playing video games in his robot mask.  The world is his oyster… or the Mushroom Kingdom anyway.

This was a fun one, friends, so thanks for the recommendation.  It was a great example of why it always makes sense to give different types of music a chance, even if your perception of a given band or genre is negative.  There’s almost always shit you can enjoy or appreciate when you step out of your comfort zone.

Now, let’s rock some fucking German metal.  Auf jeden Fall!

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