Daft Punk: The 10 most iconic tracks of all time
Following yesterday’s sad news that Daft Punk are set to call it quits, we’ve been looking back into the pantheons at the legacy of great productions crafted by the legendary duo. The French pairing, who started releasing in 1993, were famed for their albums such as ‘Homework’, ‘Discovery’, and later, ‘Random Access Memories’, winning multiple GRAMMY awards in the process. So from their humble beginnings as French-electro producers, to their finale as one of the most pioneering electronic artists of all time, here are – in no particular order – the 10 most iconic Daft Punk tracks of all time:
1. Da Funk
Cited by Swedish House Mafia legends Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso as the track which unified their friendship in their teenage years, and started the ball rolling on their eventual desire to produce together in the studio, this slick production was added to debut album ‘Homework’ after an official single release in 1995. Fun Fact: This track was actually the first ever released under the ‘Daft Punk’ name.
2. Robot Rock
If ever a track encapsulated the signature style of the French pair, it was ‘Robot Rock’, which – in addition to lending a firm nod to the duo’s iconic helmet(s) design – also showcased the truly unique nature of the duo’s powerful production prowess. The blend between analogue and synth elements gave us a glimpse into our musical future, long before others had cottoned on to this particular style/sound.
3. Around The World
Certainly accompanied by one of the most innovative videos of all time, the choreography of the ‘Around The World’ production, complete with skeletons dancing in unison around a giant globe structure of the planet Earth, will live long in the memory for a track which really catapulted the pair into the spotlight. Daft Punk became a household name upon the release of this one in 1997, and stayed at the summit thereafter.
4. Digital Love
Displaying a more stripped-back ‘pop’ tempo, the robotic-vocal added to ‘Digital Love‘ further enhanced the Daft Punk brand, at a time when the duo reached the peak of ‘cool’ worldwide. It even burst into the Top 20 of the Official UK Singles Chart in Summer 2001, sitting pretty at number #14 alongside non-dance acts such as Nelly, Dido, S Club 7, and Shaggy.
5. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
One of the most intelligent uses of sampling came via ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ from the 2001 album, ‘Discovery’. The snippet of Daft Punk’s chorus was even used as the intro hook for Kanye West‘s 2007 banger ‘Stronger’, taken from his quintuple platinum-selling album ‘Graduation’. If you’ve not yet seen the ‘Daft Hands’ video, then check it out below… It’s the work of a creative genius!
Yet another sizzler from the ‘Discovery’ album, few tracks in the history of dance music can rival those introductory chords of the brilliantly dynamic (no pun intended!) ‘Aerodynamic’, which featured a prominent guitar solo. Thomas Bangalter (Daft Punk) acknowledged: “Some people might think that the guitar on ‘Aerodynamic’ is in bad taste, but for us, it’s all about being true to ourselves and not caring what other people would think.”
7. Get Lucky
As acts like Swedish House Mafia have found out for themselves in recent years, a dance music ‘comeback’ is certainly no easy feat to successfully pull off. But in 2013, just as the Scandinavian had faded off into the sunset at Ultra Miami, the return of the robotic pairing soothed the souls of electronic-lovers around the globe. This huge Pharrell collab has since chalked up more than half a billion Spotify streams, becoming their most 2nd streamed track of all time.
8. Lose Yourself To Dance
Another stunning collaboration with the vocal talents of N.E.R.D front-man Pharrell Williams, the Daft Punk boys combined elements of slick jazz with stripped-back instrumentals on this one to craft a chilled after-hours feel. Perfect Sunday-morning listening, the track was a stark contrast to some of their earlier – and more energetic work – and was written by Chic soul legend, Nile Rodgers.
If ‘saving the best for last‘ is more than just a phrase, then it certainly proved to be the case in 2016, when the Parisian pair teamed up with one of the world’s most in-demand superstars, The Weeknd. The track instantly boomed into the big-time, racking up a mind-boggling figure of 1.5 BILLION streams on Spotify alone, with rumours even starting to (incorrectly) swirl that the pair might join the R&B maestro as a special cameo during his recent SuperBowl performance.
10. One More Time
Well… You weren’t seriously expecting us to miss this one off the list, were you? Arguably the most iconic Daft Punk track of all time, the peak euphoria felt when the insatiable hook of this EDM anthem kicks in, is a vibe many of you would have felt during festivals and iconic summer moments in years gone by. We don’t even have to contribute any further words to do this one justice, just promise us you’ll take a listen to it below. Yes, we know you’ve heard it a million times before, but… Just one more time?
Image Credit: Thomas Bangalter (left) and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk, 2013.
Matt Sayles—Invision/AP Images