I’ve been really into Daft Punk for the last couple of weeks. I’m obsessed with Discovery, their second LP. After I decided I wanted to write about it, I decided to do a quick search on the internet and see if any other reviewers had already said the same things as me. The album came out seven years ago, after all.

I was amazed to see that, despite Daft Punk’s undeniably huge popularity, reviews of the album were generally mediocre. Billboard published one of the most positive reviews of the album, and they just called it “an early contender for the year’s best dance/pop album.” I count four qualifiers in there.

I think Discovery is incredible, and not just because of my aforementioned respect and love for “One More Time.” The entire album is fantastic, and I’ll tell you why.

First and foremost, all of the songs are well-written. This is the most boring, least contested, and most obvious reason why the album is great. But it is also the most important.

“Something About Us” is a particularly well-written song. Ignoring the instrumentation, arrangement, and all of the electronic trickery, the melody is great, the lyrics are catchy, and the chords make sense but are still interesting. I’m not going to say that it could be a jazz standard, but I will say that Daft Punk successfully draws from a long songwriting tradition.

That’s a rare trait, particularly among electronic and dance musicians who often just play with production techniques to get through a song. If you listen to the radio or most pop music these days, it’s pretty obvious that a lot of musicians just don’t know how to write a good song. There’s no sense of structure or development, or there is but it’s awkward or wrong. You don’t know where the song is going or how it’s supposed to make you feel, or maybe it doesn’t go anywhere. But Daft Punk knows how to write a song.

Plus, all of the details are right. This album is chock full of compressors, filters, vocoders, pitch correctors, and all kinds of other production techniques that are very skillfully used.  Of course, that’s what makes the album sound so professional, gives it a distinct sound, and makes it interesting.

But beyond that, the skillful production gives the album a distinct sense of confidence. Daft Punk isn’t pussyfooting around the fact that they’re making an electronic dance pop album. They do it in a big, loud way, taking every effect to the extreme. That gives the album a sense of sincerity and confidence that makes it more likable and comfortable.

Now, if you aren’t particularly fond of this album as a whole, you are probably thinking right now, “But, Daft Punk is lame!” Honestly, I won’t argue with you. Discovery is one of the least cool albums I’ve ever listened to more than once or twice.

I mentioned how great “Something About Us” is earlier, but it’s also incredibly lame. The wah effect on the processed guitar (or synthesizer? I’m not sure), the bass line, even the guitar solo–it’s all really, really lame. There may be nothing lamer in the world than the delivery of the lyric “Some kind of secret I will share with you.” (Go back and listen to it right now. It’s actually a little funny.)

In fact, I think every single song on this album is really uncool. How could the album be cool–it’s openly based on 70s funk music.

Another argument against this album is that it’s dumb. Again, that argument is clearly true. “One More Time” is very obviously one of the dumbest songs of all time. I tried to pick out specific examples of other songs that were equally dumb, but then I realized I was just picking every song on the album in order (“Aerodynamic,” “Digital Love,” “Harder Better Faster Stronger,” …).

But if you think this album is bad because it’s dumb or lame, you’re completely missing the point. Any album has to be judged on its own terms, and Discovery is supposed to be really dumb and really lame. In an abstract sense, Discovery is about letting go of the idea that you have to be cool or smart, if only for an hour, and just enjoying some dance music.

I mean, seriously, look at the lyrics of “One More Time.”

So if you’re too uptight to enjoy some lame, dumb, awesome music, I can almost guarantee you’re overthinking this album. The less you think about this album and just listen to it, the more awesome it gets.

I think Thomas Bangalter, one half of Daft Punk, put it best:

This album has a lot to do with our childhood and the memories of the state we were in at that stage of our lives. It’s about our personal relationship to that time. It’s less of a tribute to the music from 1975 to 1985 as an era, and more about focusing on the time when we were zero to ten years old. When you’re a child you don’t judge or analyze music. You just like it because you like it. You’re not concerned with whether it’s cool or not. Sometimes you might relate to just one thing in a song, such as the guitar sound. This album takes a playful, fun, and colorful look at music. It’s about the idea of looking at something with an open mind and not asking too many questions. It’s about the true, simple, and honest relationship you have with music when you’re open to your own feelings.

The only other reason to not enjoy this album is because you just don’t think the music is good. In that case, you’re just completely wrong. Go lock yourself up in your room with Thriller on repeat until you get it, and then rejoin us in the real world.

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