So lets get one thing straight, I am a massive fan of Daft Punk.
My introduction to their music came when I was the tender age of eleven. The year was 2004, it had been three years since Discovery (2001) was released, and I heard ‘One More Time’ over the radio. And that was it. The undeniably catchy tunes reverberated around my mind, and my life has since been a haze of worshipping two men who wear robot helmets. Fast forward nine years to 2013 and I was as giddy as an eleven year old upon learning of the imminent arrival of Random Access Memories. It has to date been the only thing I have ever pre-ordered, ensuring I could listen to it the moment it was available. It was a good thing too, as upon its release I was dreadfully sick at university with measles. But even as I laid in bed, dying, I knew I was in for a treat when ‘Give Life Back To Music’ thundered from the speakers, and reinvigorated my measly self.
You can bet that between these two moments, I explored every single record Daft Punk had ever created or remixed. I kept discovering and rediscovering specific songs which would become lodged in my brain, and in my need for a fix I would jab furiously at the repeat button on my old mp3 player. The poor thing couldn’t stand up to the task, the button broke, and I subsequently bought an iPod. Bands have come and gone, and my taste in music has since matured and adapted into what it is today, yet Daft Punk remain untouched for me. I still encounter times when I again become hooked to one of their records, most recently ‘Indo Silver Club’ from Homework (1997), and proceed to listen to that song repeatedly and throw miniature dance moves whenever I think no one’s looking.
And this is where the curse begins.
Yet that’s not to say that I’ve never become disillusioned with Daft Punk, quite the contrary actually. Despite my loyal adoration, Daft Punk has made me seriously wonder why I hold them in such high regard. Lets consider, and try to remember the lyrics of ‘Around the World’ (Homework), oh, wait…
Now I love ‘Around the World’ as much as the next guy, probably more so. I realise the repetitive nature of the song makes it easy to memorize, and that much more potent when you do get hooked. It’s why many Daft Punk tracks are, in my opinion, timeless. But the full version of ‘Around the World’ is over seven minutes long. Doesn’t this seem unnecessary? What if I wanted to listen to something with more than three lyrics? Or to a track which wasn’t looped? I’d change the song of course. But what if I was hooked, and I wanted to listen to it again, and again, and again? How long until I exhaust that song, or I outright lose my mind? This is an unfortunate scenario, and one I feel is common to any fan of Daft Punk. But overall, it isn’t that bad, part of the fun really.
The curse behind Daft Punk is paradoxically their greatest attraction, it’s their mysterious persona. Fans of Daft Punk, like myself, are irresistibly drawn to those funky helmets. The idea of a musician immersed in a separate musical identity isn’t new – Ziggy Stardust/David Bowie is a prime example. What the difference is here is that whilst Ziggy survived for only a year during 1972/73, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter have kept their robotic counterparts alive for much longer. Furthermore, whilst Ziggy’s personality was one of unrestrained flamboyancy, Daft Punk relishes being an enigma, something emphasised by their elusive media presence, and reluctance to announce live performances. We know Ziggy came from Mars, but what about these robots?
It has been seven long years since Daft Punk performed their last tour in 2007, and the question on my lips is when da funk will they announce another? One of my few wishes is to go to a Daft Punk concert, hell I’d follow their world tour venue by venue if I could. I even formulated a theory a couple of years ago, based on the Alive 1997 and Alive 2007 albums, that Daft Punk will only announce a tour every decade – Alive 2017 guys, you heard it first from me. It’s a depressing thought, but one better than suspecting that Daft Punk won’t announce a live tour ever again. Of course this is all just part of the character behind Daft Punk, a magnetism has been slowly building around them, a tension which they want to crank up to eleven, before exploding with an unparalleled spectacle of awesomeness that will be their tour. It’s an effective ploy, as a result of my arduous wait, I’ve become pent up with an (almost) unendurable anxiety that, one day, any day now, a tour will suddenly be announced, I will somehow miss out on this, and will have to consign myself to waiting for another decade.
This curse of Daft Punk I imagine is familiar to fans of Ziggy Stardust, imagine being at that concert in 1973 when Ziggy announced it would be his last, the heartbreak. Now picture the frenzy if Bowie suddenly announced a reprisal of his iconic counterpart. It’s an emotional manipulation similar to Daft Punk’s continued silence.
And now I’m in a quandary. For seven years I have been kept in excited suspension, and my expectations have subsequently been raised to (almost) unattainable heights. What if I now saw Daft Punk, and was disappointed? The result would be even more crushing than a heartbreak, it would be a complete deflation; a realisation that I’ve been a fool, I’ve bought into a false idea, and my childish adoration has been misplaced. It’s obvious for all fans who have been following Daft Punk, the stakes have never been higher, especially since the release, and success, of Random Access Memories. So far my support for Daft Punk has proven unshakable, but I can only hope that my investment in these robots shall be rewarded, and that the curse will be broken.