Daft Punk were one of the most notable duos in electronic music and beyond. For those who are unfamiliar, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter worked together until 2021, which was when they went their separate ways for unknown reasons. In that time, Daft Punk released four studio albums plus a soundtrack album. On the whole, they have been well-received, so much so that chances are good that interested individuals have heard one or more of their songs at some point in time.
5. Human After All
Sometimes, the people who make art can have very different opinions from the people who experience that same art. To name an example, consider Human After All, which was Daft Punk’s third studio album. At the time, they considered it to be their favorite studio album, stating that it had a close connection to their own experiences. Furthermore, Human After All was apparently capable of showing moments of beauty in between a general sense of fear and sadness inspired by the less pleasant aspects of technology. Meanwhile, the critics were less enamored. Essentially, this was based on the fact that Human After All was a very different album from its two predecessors. Those had been inspired by a combination of disco and garage house. In contrast, this was a much more minimalistic, much more improvisational sound made using just six pieces of equipment for the most part. Theoretically, there is no reason why such works can’t please. In practice, well, the critics simply weren’t pleased.
4. Tron: Legacy
Human imagination tends to outstrip human advancement. For proof, look no further than 1982’s Tron, which came into existence because its creator became fascinated by video games upon seeing Pong for the first time. On the whole, the movie met with a mixed reception. Critics liked the acting as well as the visuals that went with the acting. However, they weren’t too thrilled by the story, which they considered incoherent. Still, Tron proved to be influential, so much so that it received a follow-up called Tron: Legacy in 2010. Amusingly, said movie proved to be very popular to its predecessor. Once more, it received a mixed reception. On the one hand, the critics were less than impressed by either the cast or the story that the cast members were working with; on the other hand, the critics loved the visuals, the music, and the production. Thanks to that, Tron: Legacy has become something of a cult classic in its own right. By 2010, Daft Punk had more than managed to make their name. As such, they were the natural choice for Tron: Legacy’s soundtrack album, as shown by how they were sought out by the movie’s director for the job. The result isn’t quite what interested individuals might expect based on Daft Punk’s other work. However, there is a reason that its music is considered to be one of Tron: Legacy’s selling points, meaning that the soundtrack album is well-worth listening to.
There aren’t a lot of studio albums that can be called banner-bearers for entire music genres. However, Homework is one of them. After all, it didn’t just make Daft Punk known to the world, it made French house music as a whole known to the world. Unsurprisingly, that meant that Homework was extremely influential on both its own music genre and international dance music as a whole. In any case, it is interesting to note that Daft Punk didn’t break out onto the world stage with the release of their first studio album. Instead, they had already been making a name for themselves, so much so that there was a bidding war between record labels for the duo’s work. Eventually, Daft Punk produced enough singles that they figured that they had enough material for a full-fledged studio album. As it turned out, their belief was quite correct because Homework went on to sell millions of copies. In hindsight, Homework loses some points for incoherency. However, it nonetheless remains a remarkable collection of songs even if that remarkable collection of songs happens to be a bit hodgepodge in certain places.
2. Random Access Memories
A lot of people will remember Random Access Memories. This is because Daft Punk’s fourth studio album was also one of their most successful studio albums. In particular, it is worth mentioning that this was their one studio album to hit the number one position on the U.S. Billboard 200 as well as the number one position on similar charts in 20 other countries. Quite a bit of this momentum came from the overwhelming success of its lead single “Get Lucky,” which sold so many copies that it has since become recognized as one of the best-selling singles of all time. The commercial success of Random Access Memories was matched by its critical success. There are those who champion it as one of the best studio albums of the 2010s. Moreover, it did very well in its year’s award shows, as shown by how it claimed not one, not two, but five Grammy Awards in 2014. Music-wise, Random Access Memories was something of a risk. After all, it wasn’t a return to Daft Punk’s earlier work. Instead, it was an attempt at overcoming the not so enthusiastic response to Human After All by weaving in live instrumentation and other novel elements that the duo had never done before. As such, the success of Random Access Memories was that much more impressive by showing Daft Punk’s ability to outdo themselves.
Random Access Memories is a strong contender. However, it is beaten out by Discovery, which can be considered Daft Punk’s most iconic studio album. If Homework was raw and unpolished, then its successor can be considered the finished product. As such, it is no wonder that it managed to become both a critical and a commercial success, which proved to be influential enough to reshape the house music scene once again. It is interesting to note that Discovery saw Daft Punk teaming up with the Japanese mangaka Matsumoto Reiji to create an anime movie that had no dialogue but instead used the studio album as its soundtrack. Older individuals who saw the music video for “One More Time” might have found it familiar. This is because Matsumoto is a well-known figure in his own right who has a very distinctive visual style.