“One More Time”: Looking Back at Daft Punk’s Career with 6 of Their Best Songs
It seems that the sun has set on an almost 30-year era in the music industry with the announcement that the robotic French duo Daft Punk has retired. The CommRadio arts & entertainment department takes a look back at some of the best songs and collaborations that Daft Punk has released over the duo’s three decades of activity.
“Around the World” (1997)
Built around a loopy bass line and glaring synthesizers, “Around the World” was one of the first songs to introduce the disco funk sound of Daft Punk to the world. Although the single repeats the same chords for the entirety of the track, the song never comes off as repetitive to the listener.
As with a majority of their songs from their earlier catalog, where “Around the World” thrives is in its simplicity. By drumming the same notes and the sentence “Around the World” over and over again, the listener can’t help but feel a hypnotic trance being induced by the French electronic duo.
The reason “Around the World” ranks as one of the best Daft Punk songs is because it is also one of their most important. During the time of its release, very little music on the radio had any resemblance to the sound Daft Punk was creating on their debut record. “Around the World” was the single that proved that the duo had a place in the grand music lexicon. —Paul Martin
“Get Lucky” (2013)
Arguably the most famous Daft Punk single, “Get Lucky” dominated the airwaves in 2013 and even nabbed two Grammy awards at the following ceremony, including one for Record of the Year. Released on what would become Daft Punk’s final studio album “Random Access Memories,” “Get Lucky” shot up to top spots in countries across the world with a slick composition and an amazing hook delivered by Pharrell Williams.
Williams wasn’t the only guest to deliver a stellar contribution to the track. Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers joined the group to drop an irresistibly funky guitar lick reminiscent of the groovy music that dominated the radio in the late ‘70s.
It really should come as no surprise why “Get Lucky” is not only one of the best Daft Punk songs but one of the best pop songs in general of the last 20 years. As the pop realm enters more uncertain territory with producers and musicians each trying to one-up one another with more complex song structures, Daft Punk proved that immersing the listener in a few notes and loops is all that is needed to make a catchy record. —Paul Martin
The Weeknd’s “Starboy” album was released in 2016 and contains two instrumentals from Daft Punk, marking the first-ever collaboration between the two parties. The eponymous intro track has the distinction of being one of the duo’s final features, but it is also perhaps one of their best.
“Starboy” begins with booming bass and resonant piano keys, setting the tone for the rest of the album. The Weeknd sounds like he has nothing left to prove as he raps about the dark side of fame. The accompanying music video is shot in nearly pitch black, as the Weeknd wields a neon cross in a mansion while Daft Punk appears in a portrait on the wall.
True to its name, “Starboy” was one of the biggest hits of both the Weeknd’s and Daft Punk’s careers. The single reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and has since been certified eight times platinum by the RIAA. —Adam Babetski
“Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” (2001)
“Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” was released as a single for Daft Punk’s second album, “Discovery,” in 2001. Although it was not a hit in the United States upon release, it gained a second wind years later when it became a popular choice for background music in the early days of YouTube.
“Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” has an instrumental that is driven by all of the electronic bells and whistles you would expect to hear in a Daft Punk song. The track’s catchy, repetitive chorus, “Work it harder, make it better/Do it faster, makes us stronger”, is sure to get stuck in your head.
“Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” has since become solidified as one of Daft Punk’s most iconic songs. Unsurprisingly, it remained a fan favorite in Daft Punk’s concerts throughout their career.
Kanye West later sampled “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” in his 2007 single, “Stronger.” Daft Punk received a production credit for the song, which went on to become a No. 1 hit and win a Grammy Award. —Adam Babetski
“One More Time” (2000)
The first single off of Daft Punk’s sophomore record “Discovery” may be one of the greatest songs of all time—quite literally. The song is listed as No. 307 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list and has made plenty of other notable ones.
Sampling “More Spell on You” by Eddie Johns, the French robotic duo flips the track into an unmatched disco and electronic anthem for the ages. “One More Time” can be played almost anywhere, and it would feel appropriate: late-night drives, parties, the shower, family barbecues, you name it. It’s a song that can universally be enjoyed by anyone, too: little kids, adults, people of all colors and races—it does not discriminate.
The song urges listeners to continue dancing and to celebrate. Celebrate what? It doesn’t matter. The vocoder vocal performance sounds like something out of the future, especially with the music video tying into the 2003 anime film “Interstella 5555.”
“One More Time” will remain one of the songs that defines Daft Punk’s long legacy, and it is clear to see why—it’s just so fun. —Caelan Chevrier
A song that may have been passed over on 2013’s “Random Access Memories” may best demonstrate the level of creativity and musicianship that Daft Punk had. Clocking in over eight minutes long, “Touch” is a true masterpiece. It is some of the duo’s most complex work, too; Daft Punk noted that the piece was composed of over 250 unique elements.
This ranges from featured artist Paul Williams’ vocals to synthesizers, to drums, to an ensemble of strings and horns, to a choir. The track is incredibly sad but beautiful nonetheless.
Williams’ voice sounds fragile and broken but powerful at the same time. The song takes the listener on a journey, opening in a space vacuum of synthesizers and mystifying distorted vocals, traveling through a masterful piano solo to the choir singing “Hold on, if love is the answer, you're home.” It is quite the tear-jerker.
In Daft Punk’s “Epilogue,” this song couldn’t be more fitting for the conclusion of a near-30-year journey. “Touch” certifies the duo as pioneers and leaders for the music industry as a whole. They have left the world with a song that breaks down boundaries, displays an unfathomable level of precision and care in their craft, and has created something as close to perfect as perfect gets. —Caelan Chevrier
Paul Martin is a junior majoring in telecommunications and media studies. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adam Babetski is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Caelan Chevrier is a freshman majoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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