On February 22nd, 2021, French house duo Daft Punk announced their breakup.
Finding out about this announcement on Twitter washed a wave of sadness over me. As the realization of never getting another Daft Punk record hit me, I thought about how much I loved their music and the legacy that they left behind.
Discovery is a perfect album. Released on March 12th, 2001 (also my birthday!) to critical acclaim, Discovery was the album that propelled the duo to widespread fame. Before Discovery, Daft Punk were critically successful with their freshman album Homework, but the singles from Discovery like One More Time, Digital Love, and Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger dominated the American radio throughout the early 2000s. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger in particular would live in the zeitgeist for years to come, as Kanye West sampled the song on Stronger in 2007.
From a musical standpoint, Discovery is immaculate. Every single track on this album is designed to empower the listener. The album opens with One More Time, a song whose build up leads to a euphoric beat drop. Daft Punk take Eddie Johns’s More Spell on You and transform the trumpet hits into the foundation for their chorus. As the record progresses, the immaculate production grows a sense of security and stability in its production. Catchy melodies are interspersed with vocals that sound experimental, but familiar Digital Love is touchingly intimate, while Aerodynamic grows a sense of enthusiasm and energy through its swells. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger remains the definitive dancefloor banger, and the excitement carries through the rest of the album on tracks such as Crescendolls and Superheroes. Finally, the album closes with Too Long, a 10 minute long track with a title itself that’s a tongue-in-cheek self-commentary. As the main chorus repeats, the instrumentation slowly begins to enter the track as the drums and synths begin to kick in. The song develops until, by its conclusion, the song has broken itself down and reconstructed itself multiple times.
Discovery is, for lack of a better word, magical. The music industry during the 2000s and the 2010s was dominated by two very ambitious and talented men: Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. I lament the fact that these two will never make an album again. Now, I’m going to take the suggestion of the album opener, and listen to this masterpiece One More Time.