Where were you when you were first introduced to electronic-based music? Almost two decades ago, I vaguely remember hearing The Crystal Method and Moby on my mom’s CD player, and as I grew older, I began to explore the genre more. Though I’m really into rock and metal, there’s something about danceable electronic music that puts me in a great mood. And after all these years, one of the albums in the genre that sticks out to me is the 2001 masterpiece from Daft Punk, Discovery.
I wasn’t old enough to even come close to remembering the huge disco craze of the mid to late 1970’s. Hell, my parents were still children at the time. Ever heard of Disco Demolition Night? It was a real thing that happened – the backlash was so abrupt that it crushed a lot of careers. There’s a reason it went out of style – like most musical crazes (grunge, nu-metal), disco rose in popularity and then crashed overnight as music listeners looked for the next big thing.
With that said, Daft Punk’s 2001 magnum opus Discovery is, at its core, a tribute to those late-1970’s artists – with a helping of house, electronica, dance, techno, and pop music. And Discovery really is a pop album at heart. Tracks like “Digital Love” and “Aerodynamic” command you to get on the dance floor and let loose. “Shut up and dance” is the phrase of the day here. Ever heard massive single “One More Time”? It’s impossible not to be moved when you hear it. It effectively encapsulates the entire album, and a lesser artist would have milked the gorgeous hooks in “One More Time” all the way through. The fact that Daft Punk wisely dials it back a notch halfway through the song is an equally brilliant move.
It can’t be overstated how important this album is to electronic music in general. How Daft Punk was able to take a dead genre in disco, combine it with other electronic and pop music stylings, and turn it into something brilliant is beyond me. Ignore (or preferably, embrace) the cheesy lyrics – Discovery is a celebration of life and all its joyousness. Shut up and dance, indeed.