I’ve been into the whole Metal Motivation thing for a while now, even when I don’t remember to tweet about it, so this post might surprise a few people. Everyone knows I’ve always been a metal head. Not everyone knows I will also listen to whatever happens to resonate with my cranium, regardless of the genre. I have seen Judas Priest, and I have also seen Yes. Both were religious experiences, and I feel sorry for people who can’t step outside of their One True Music to experience something new. The “something new” is where the magic happens.
For example, Brian introduced the latest magic. A few weeks ago he picked me up at the airport after midnight, and as we were rolling down the highway on the 90-minute slog home, he said he had a new album to play for me. He’s pretty good about knowing what piques my interest, so I was happy to listen. It was Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, and I instantly fell in love with it.
Realize that I know exactly diddly squat about the Electronic genre as a whole, let alone what are undoubtedly complex sub-genres. I had heard of Daft Punk, but had no idea what they made. That this album can speak to me despite my lack of understanding says a lot about the quality of its construction. It resonates with me on a level that few others ever have. After pondering on it a bit during workouts and another highway trip, I think I’ve figured out why. This music makes me think. Each song goes somewhere and takes me with it, somewhere new every time.
Now, if you know me, you’re thinking, “Oh, you just like it because it’s so 70s/80s retro.” Well, yeah, most people do enjoy nostalgia, me included. The first time I listened to this album, I heard my childhood in every note. That is initially why I loved what I was hearing. The second time it took me back through my childhood, through what was happening in my world then, and I had an epiphany.
In my view as a kid, everyone was focused on the future. While we breathlessly watched for NASA updates and shuttle missions, our entertainment was full of it. The music, television, and movies that we consumed were all about space. Think about it: synthesizers and space operas, Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek and Star Wars, TRON… all of it made us look past our own noses and reach for something greater. With these influences, some of us grew up under the conviction that we could improve our own future, and we truly felt the power of imagination.
I think we lost a bit of that in the 90s and have yet to regain it because our outlook has changed - focused more inward, even backward. While listening to Random Access Memories for the second time I remarked to Brian that I fear, as a species, we’re losing our imagination. He thinks we’ll get it back, and I have to say that this album does give me hope. If people are still creating like this, we’re in better shape than I thought, and I’d like to thank Daft Punk for making that magic happen.
Plus, it’s a really great album for shaking your butt.