Daft Punk Vinyl: 5 Best Record Albums of All Time
Daft Punk announced that they were ending their decades-long run as a duo this year, and the fans are still grieving months later. The robots have had a remarkable career, and they’ve earned a slew of awards and certifications along the way. In 2016, they collaborated with The Weeknd on “Starboy,” a track that earned the duo their number one single in the country.
Although Daft Punk isn’t releasing any music for the foreseeable future, we can still look back through their discography and appreciate the masterpieces they’ve made. In this post, we’ll be ranking the band’s five best works to give the robots a proper send-off.
Who Is Daft Punk?
From 1993 until 2021, Frenchmen Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter made music together under the Daft Punk moniker. For the majority of their careers, the duo hid their identities using helmets and claimed they were robots. Their iconic helmets are featured on the cover of their final album, Random Access Memories, which was released on May 17, 2013.
The Duo’s Discography
The band released their first record, Homework, on January 20, 1997, via Virgin Records. The album yielded several worldwide hits, including “Da Funk” and “Around the World,” both of which are still legendary tracks in the EDM world.
After Homework came Discovery, an album with a hit-filled tracklist that was released in March of 2001. The record’s singles include “Aerodynamic,” “One More Time,” “Something About Us,” “Face to Face,” and, of course, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”
Alive 1997 and Daft Club
After releasing two studio albums, Daft Punk put out their first live record, Alive 1997, in October 2001. Two years later, they returned with Daft Club, their first remix record. That LP featured remixes of songs like “Digital Love,” “Aerodynamic,” “Face to Face,” and “One More Time,” as well as several others.
Human After All
The duo returned in 2005 with Human After All, their third studio album, which included the singles “Robot Rock,” “Technologic,” “Human After All,” and “Prime Time of Your Life.” The album earned a Grammy nomination for Best Electronic/Dance Album. Their next release was the compilation record Musique Vol. 1 1993-2005, a greatest hits anthology featuring songs from all three of their studio albums.
Alive 2007 and Tron: Legacy
In November 2007, the duo put out Alive 2007, their second live record. The album features live-recorded medleys of some of the band’s most beloved tracks, including songs from their most recent LP.
In December 2010, Daft Punk released the official motion picture soundtrack for Tron: Legacy, the sequel to the 1982 original. Produced by the duo with help from director Joseph Kosinski and several others, the soundtrack was met with positive reviews from critics and earned the band their first nomination for Best Score Soundtrack Album for Visual Media at the Grammys. The soundtrack was later remixed and re-released as Tron: Legacy Reconfigured.
Random Access Memories
The robots’ final record, Random Access Memories, was released on May 17, 2013. Recorded between 2008 and 2012, the album marked a monumental change in the duo’s sound. Tracks like “Get Lucky,” “Doin’ It Right,” and “Lose Yourself to Dance” all have more pop and funk elements than the duo’s previous hits. In addition, the duo collaborated with numerous big names in the industry, including Pharrell, Julian Casablancas, Giorgio Moroder, and many others.
Now that we’ve covered every release in the robots’ discography, it’s time to count down the five greatest LPs they’ve ever put out.
5. Alive 2007
One of the most electrifying live albums ever recorded, Alive 2007 was a decade-defining electronic record that serves as a retrospective of the duo’s career. The tracklist comprises unique mashups of songs from all three of the band’s studio albums that had been released to that point, including several medleys that include three songs apiece.
A highlight of the record is “Around the World / Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” which takes two unforgettable Daft Punk tracks and fuses them to make them sound better than ever. The record went on to earn a 2x Platinum certification in France, a Silver certification in the UK, a Platinum certification in Belgium, and a Gold certification in Australia. It also reached the very top of the US Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart.
4. Human After All
Featuring unforgettable tracks like “Human After All,” “Technologic,” and “Robot Rock,” Human After All is the band’s extremely danceable third studio record. The LP has the most rock elements of any of the duo’s releases, with “Robot Rock” being one of their most guitar-driven songs ever.
Human After All wasn’t the most critically-acclaimed album in the band’s discography, but it’s definitely a piece of EDM history. The record was nominated for the 2006 Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album, and it peaked the US Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart, one of several times in the duo’s career that they topped that chart.
Daft Punk’s debut record earns the third place on our list simply because of how culturally impactful the album was – and still is. Pitchfork’s Larry Fitzmaurice, in his 9.2/10 review, wrote that “Homework remains singular within Daft Punk’s catalog, the record also set the stage for the duo’s career to this very day.” Fitzmaurice put it perfectly – the Daft Punk that we know and love couldn’t exist without Homework.
The most commercially successful tracks on the album were “Da Funk” and “Around the World,” both of which are still considered some of the duo’s greatest. “Da Funk” was the first song Daft Punk ever released that reached the top of the Billboard US Dance Club Songs, and the track later went Silver in the UK.
“Around the World” topped that same chart, along with the UK Dance and Italian and Icelandic charts. The infectious dance track also earned Gold certifications in the UK and Italy. The song’s accompanying music video, directed by all-star Michel Gondry, is just as memorable as the track itself.
2. Random Access Memories
Daft Punk’s final studio album is an unforgettable listen. With cameos from some of the most celebrated artists in pop, electronic, and rock, the LP rightfully took home the Grammy awards for Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, as well as Album of the Year, Best Dance/Electronica Album, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. That’s a lot of Grammys.
Random Access Memories topped virtually every chart on the planet after its release, and it went Platinum in the UK, the US, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, Portugal, and numerous other countries.
Every song on Random Access Memories has virtually infinite replay value, and there’s always an interesting sonic element about to come into play in each track. The high-energy opener, “Give Life Back to Music,” fuses the duo’s iconic vocoder vocals with a surprisingly organic rock instrumental, and the result is incredible. The subsequent 12 tracks are just as brilliant, if not more.
Highlights on Daft Punk’s final album include “Get Lucky,” which took home several Grammys and became a smash hit, “Lose Yourself to Dance,” “Instant Crush,” “Fragments of Time,” and “Contact,” the latter of which includes recordings from the Apollo 17 mission.
Discovery is a must-listen album for everyone – not just fans of EDM. With its distinct blend of disco, house, and pop, Discovery is like nothing ever made before or after it. The album was met with rave reviews upon its release, with AllMusic’s John Bush calling it “Worthy of bygone electro-pop technicians from Giorgio Moroder to Todd Rundgren to Steve Miller.”
Drawing on an eclectic blend of influences, the duo composed a collection of extremely catchy tracks with a variety of instruments. Some of the genres that you’ll hear represented on the album include new wave, disco, jazz, EDM, ambient, minimalist, and more. “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” became the album’s biggest hit, and it was later sampled by Kanye West on the rapper’s song “Stronger.”
Other unforgettable songs on Discovery include “Aerodynamic,” “One More Time,” “Something About Us,” and “Face to Face,” all of which became major hits worldwide.
The record was paired with a beautifully-animated companion film called Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, which features songs from the album and animation by Leiji Matsumoto and a host of gifted artists. If you’re a die-hard fan of the album, you have to see the film at some point.