I can guarantee that the song that will mean the most to people from 2013 will not be “Blurred Lines” or any Miely Cyrus or Katy Perry song. It will be “Get Lucky” and with it, the album that Daft Punk released to signify their return to the studio. It won’t be Yeezus or Arcade Fire that people look back at when thinking of 2013 it will be RAM. I don’t know if people know that yet, or even if I am going out on too steep of a limb saying that, but what Daft Punk did with this album may not get the appreciation that they deserve now (not that the album was reviewed badly) but in fifteen years what they did in 2013 will be respected extremely highly. That is my belief.
This was the year for comebacks. This was the year that great bands and artists who had been on hiatus’ of some sort came back with a renowned vigor that had not been seen for many years. We had bands from My Bloody Valentine to Boards of Canada to Justin Timberlake and even Kanye West and Jay- Z releasing albums, but none were as anticipated as Daft Punk’s. The group that had essentially popularized EDM and had become the face of the genre with their robot helmets was finally coming back with an album that was not a sound track and I think the anticipation turned to nervousness because there really was no way of knowing what they would come out with.
The hype job alone for this album was absurd but so absurd it got to the point that people were literally quaking in their boots for the album to finally drop. There was the video of Pharrell at Coachella, there were the tid bits that kept being hinted at, and then there was finally “Get Lucky.” So people who had been waiting forever for this album to finally drop just had their mouths watering with all the teases that were abounding the music world.
And then the album was here and the reaction was mixed. Most people liked it, but this honestly was not what a lot of people were expecting. I had heard and read about people ready for such experimental music that the whole face of what music is would be changed. If nothing else, RAM did nothing to change music but only broadened it. It was good though, people enjoyed the singles and there was a certain groove to it that gave it a strong replay value.
It just wasn’t the mind blowing, life-changing album a lot of people and my self included kind of expected. The lore of Daft Punk is not lost on me, but never having lived through it I can’t say that their early music means an incredible deal to me simply because I was not there when it happened. I understand the significance though and give my full respect to these two men. I just had wanted my own mind-altering album from the group and RAM is just not that.
So as I went through the year, I wondered where I would put this album on my list. I enjoyed it and as the year went on I enjoyed it more and more. It is catchy and easy to play with a group of people because most people know the songs well enough to sing along and hardly anyone ever objects even if they can’t sing along. I knew deep down this album would end up meaning more to me than I could ever have anticipated but when I got to Athens, I listened to the album one afternoon and I realized I actually kind of loved it. I was really starting to appreciate the disco elements and the catchy lyrics and the electronic noises I was not normally used to listening to. I had thrown it on to listen to on a whim but some part of me thinks that it was finally time for me to fully appreciate it.
What finally changed my opinion completely on this album was an article I read from the Wall Street Journal magazine. A feature on Daft Punk and RAM in particular, it brought up a point I had never even thought of: Daft Punk had never meant to create an album that blew music out of the water. They had been meaning all along to make an album that didn’t necessarily sound new, but rather an album that could honestly be mistaken for an album from the 70’s, the 80’s or even the 00’s. They had wanted to make an album that was timeless and unaffected by the ever-changing world of music. And as I read more and more of the article, I thought, God damn it, that’s exactly what they did. I had played this album for my dad and he just looked at me wondering why I was listening to disco. This album can then get turned around and played at a college party and all people think about is the fact Pharrell is on the album and thusly this must be the newest, hottest thing to date.
An album of the year needs to be something timeless, or at least as close to timeless as the year can offer and I honestly think that RAM is 2013’s offering. At the moment most people like the album, but the word love has not been thrown around as hotly as I think it should. I don’t think people fully realize how monumental it is though. Daft Punk understands music to the point that they created an album that incorporated so many different time periods of music, that even in 20 years, a novice music listener will have a hard time pin pointing the time period RAM is from if they don’t already know. It has the disco from the 70’s, there are times when that 80’s flare is very apparent and whenever Pharrell is involved the 00’s are instantly thought of. I just cannot get over how subtly awesome this album is. Daft Punk never meant to destroy music again; they just wanted something timeless. And by God but this album is timeless. People will return to this, people will listen to this, and whether they like it or not, this is the album that will stick in their minds because timeless albums stay around whether you like it or not.