The world has seemingly gone Daft Punk daft (as it were). Their new album has apparently caused music journalists the world over to experience a collective aural orgasm the likes of which has not been seen since… since… well, since David Bowie released his new album just over two months ago, actually. Which rather undermines my attempt to present this as some kind of epochal moment. Still, there’s a blog post to be written, and if some misfiring attempts at hyperbole are the price for that, so be it.
I’m slightly taken aback by this since I didn’t realise, in my ignorance, that there was pent up demand for new material from the band. I had mistakenly assumed DP were one of those dance-y acts, like Propellerheads, who no-one was really interested in once they’d had their brief period in the limelight. I only really know DP for one track, ‘Around The World’, which I not only dislike but find actively annoying. It’s one of those songs that seems tailor-made to be used as ammunition by anyone trying to argue that dance/ electronic music is dull and soulless: it’s thinly produced, lacking in ideas, and the instrumentation is almost parodically cheap and nasty.
But each to their own – just because I lack the ability to appreciate DP’s oeuvre doesn’t mean that others are similarly limited. I’ve never been one of those who thinks that there are absolutes in cultural taste, and I certainly wouldn’t argue that their music is bad, just that I don’t enjoy it. Neither do I begrudge them their success (although I do find it a little hard to take when they are praised for their ‘alternative’ credentials at a time when they are selling so well they are the clear definition of mainstream). I am, though, struck by how easy a ride they are being given in some quarters. It’s almost being suggested that they are doing something new – terms like ‘ground-breaking’ are used with dismaying regularity – when they are obviously just the latest iteration of a number of long-standing trends.