When you’re dealing with Daft Punk, “obscene expectations” are the norm. Witness the weeklong lead-up to the premiere of their brand-new single “Get Lucky,” which was filled with teasers and trailers, fits and false-starts, purported leaks and near-psychotic over-analysis. It’s basically become par for the course; after all, it’s been more than 8 years since the dynamic duo released their last proper studio album (unless you count 2012’s soundtrack to “Tron: Legacy,”) and nearly five since they began work on their much-anticipated Random Access Memories album. Simply put, they’re the kind of act that practically lend themselves to obsession, to the point where being a Daft Punk fan is a full-time endeavor.
But now, the wait is over. At 12:01 a.m. Friday (April 19), Daft Punk released “Get Lucky,” amid sky-high expectations. Given just how anticipated the song was, it seems almost impossible that it could live up to the hype … but so great was the public’s appetite that it seems fitting to take a look at some of first reviews of the single. Snap judgment practically goes hand-in-hand with obscene expectations, no? So, with a full 12 hours to digest the track, what are critics saying?
Well, it seems they like what they heard. “Get Lucky” earned Best New Track honors over at Pitchfork, with Andy Beta praising guitarist Nile Rodgers’ “sprightly, ageless riff,” and comparing it to the work he did on Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” more than 30 years ago.
Rolling Stone’s Will Hermes also made the Sledge comparison, writing that, after all the build-up, the track “reveals itself, startlingly, as an old-school disco jam.” And Entertainment Weekly’s Kyle Anderson adds that, while it’s “a little jarring to hear Daft Punk’s robot rock fronted by a singer as organic-sounding as [Pharrell Williams], he manages to fit right in.”
Reviews in the UK newspaper The Guardian and the Washington Post were both complimentary, though both echoed a sentiment being expressed by many a Daft Punk fan today: namely, that “Get Lucky” sounds very little like anything in the duo’s back catalog of club hits, with Guardian critic Michael Cragg writing the song “eschews the crunching electronics of their last album … in favor of lithe funk grooves that seem to have been transported directly from an underlit ’70s dancefloor.”
“Yeah, it’s good, but it’s still the itty-bittiest bit disappointing, because it’s so close to great,” the Post’s Chris Richards adds. “The duo’s best music has felt entirely original. Adding a voice as familiar as Pharrell’s to the mix cheapens the magic.”
As for us, well, we love it, and we give Daft Punk credit for thumbing their (robo) noses at contemporary dance music, ditching any of EDM’s whoosh-and-whomp to pay homage to the genre’s true origins: house and disco. Working with a pioneer like Rodgers, they nod to the past, while adding Williams’ to the mix points the song towards the future. It’s the best of both worlds, really, and while “Get Lucky” may befuddle some, but you get the feeling that’s the point, really. Shoot, maybe the kids might actually learn something.
But, did “Get Lucky” live up to the hype? Does it stray too far from Daft Punk’s signature sound, or represent a bold new vision of dance music in 2013? Will club kids even listen? And what does all of this say about Random Access Memories? Well, we’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below … after all, we know you’ve been waiting a long time to let it all out.
Sound off on Daft Punk’s ’Get Lucky’ in the comments below?