I’m Sorry, Dave, I’m Afraid I Can’t Dance to That
If you want grandstanding, angst, or irony alongside club rhythms, try sticking to industrial music. Daft Punk, however, insist you check out Human After All, a release that sneers at the promise established by their first two seminal dance albums.Taking just weeks to record a follow-up to Discovery after four years off was not wrong. Worse albums have been made in longer sessions after shorter absences. However, Daft Punk chose awful sounds from their studio noodling and arranged them poorly. That happens sometimes.
The whispered theory is that it happened here on purpose. Is Human After All really an uber-ironic commentary on the worst aspects of the music they embrace using nothing but the worst aspects of the music they embrace?
Most of the album sure seems culled straight from Best Buy’s software shelves, leaving listeners disinterested enough to focus on the repetitiveness of it all. (Although it is dance music, folks.) Run through monstrosities like “Steam Machine,” “Emotion,” and “The Brainwasher,” and you might just conclude that a cavalier “You’ll dance to anything” attitude was the latest French fashion.
There are shreds of evidence to the contrary. “Robot Rock” vaguely resembles “Phoenix” from 1997’s Homework, while “Make Love” is obvious sex music. Yet even these successes are minor, unplanned and messy like wet dreams.
You have to hope that Daft Punk just made horrible mistakes here instead of any artistic statement. No doubt their next album will indicate whether the joke is really on us humans after all.