Consider, for a moment, the first months of 1997. Electronica
is just about to explode commercially in the US. The Chemical Brothers
are poised to release Dig Your Own Hole
, which would wash through the media to become the de facto standard in incidental music. Daft Punk
was released just four months before Dig Your Own Hole and, in many ways, represents the first step towards a legitimate and mature Electronica genre.
Homework does something that no electronic album before it really could; it manages to treat the music seriously and at the same time be accessable to a large, pop-oriented audience. Previous to this album, electronic music was very serious, in every regard. To listen to an album like Orbital
's In Sides
required a great deal of appreciation both for the genre as a new concept and for the innovation, which may at times have taken the place of quality. It was difficult for the casual listener
to become acquainted with electronic music because in the early 90's it was simply not ready for a mainstream audience
. A song like Underworld
's "Mmm Skyscraper, I Love You
", a twelve minute sprawling track, may have been an enjoyable listen but there is simply no way one could convince a radio station to play it.
But why should Homework
be considered the album that bridged the gap between the snobbery of the underground electronic scene and the bottomless pockets of consumer culture
? The answer is simple; Daft Punk created an amazingly solid record.
This is a party album, with rollicking house beats
that could keep any dance floor hopping. At the same time, it manages to innovate the well-worn house genre with new depth. "Rock & Roll
'" imbues a four by four beat with a strong acid kick and in the process creates a sound which is unique and satisfying. The formula that makes this album so successful is clearly present in this song. Here, the French duo take a simple and tested technique (like a house beat) and put a fresh spin on it, thus satisfying both listeners who are new to electronic music and veterans who have been grooving to acts like Massive Attack
since the eighties.
The observant listener may also hear twinges of Disco
, a sound which Daft Punk would later perfect in their second album, Discovery
. Disco licks and grooves are apparent in both "Revolution 909
" and "Around the World
" which explains why these are two of the most enjoyable cuts off the album. This is what Daft Punk does best, borrowing from the old and making it sound refreshingly unique.
Daft Punk's Homework is a serious work which does not alienate its audience. None of the music's credibility is sacrafied; the glossy made-for-television feel of later albums such as Moby
and The Chemical Brothers
is absent here. On the whole, this is a mature album which exemplifies good pop music.
2. WDPK 83.7 FM
3. Revolution 909
4. Da Funk
7. Around the World
8. Rollin' & Scratchin'
10. High Fidelity
11. Rock 'n Roll
12. Oh Yeah
14. Indo Silver Club
16. Funk Ad