20 Albums 20 Years Later

Daft Punk’s Drums-And-Synthesizer Experiment Didn’t Need Celebrity Guests To Redefine Dance Music

Daft Punk's "Homework" turns 20 this year.

20 Albums 20 Years Later remembers and explores the music that touched us back then and still resonates today. Join A Plus as we take another listen to albums released in 1997 and celebrate their contributions not only to the charts but to our lives.

New Daft Punk fans can do their homework to dive deeper into the beat-savvy duo's discography.

Rated among the 30 Greatest EDM Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone, Daft Punk's 1997 debut studio album Homework set the stage for members Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter to make their mark on the music industry in a major way.

The pair hailing from Paris undoubtedly have the recipe to create infectious beats that make you want to jump up and dance, which they've been mastering since first meeting in the late '80s. But they didn't start getting the attention they deserved until the release of their 1995 hit "Da Funk," which was their first commercially successful single. That song is one of the electrifying tracks on their debut album, which celebrates 20 years in 2017.

"Da Funk"

Daft Punk's experimentation with drum machines and synthesizers created their unique sound, but Homework didn't welcome the slew of featured celebrity friends that join them on tracks today, including superstars such as Pharrell Williams and The Weeknd, who described their studio as "a spaceship; there's a lot of gear."

"The way they make music, the way they explain it, is very cinematic," the "Starboy" singer, who credited Daft Punk as huge musical inspirations, said in a previous interview. "It's like they're reading a page out of a novel … They can get technical, but it was interesting how they visualize making music."

That gift is quite evident in Homework, even without all the shiny superstar collaborations that '90s artists such as the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim were known for at the time. Instead, they seamlessly wove hip-hop, funk, techno, and French house music together like an energizing musical buffet of sounds, which they described as "the sound of tomorrow and the music of today."

Standout tracks such as "Around the World" feature Daft Punk's synthesized voices providing the vocals and a repeating chant of the song's title. In 1999, during the time they began recording their second album, the duo released a collection of videos for the song titled D.A.F.T. – A Story About Dogs, Androids, Firemen and Tomatoes.

"Around the World"

Cuts like "Teachers" pay homage to those who paved the way for their eclectic sound, such as DJ Funk, George Clinton, and Dr. Dre.

"Teachers"

"Rock 'n Roll" seemed to pay respect to their roots with guitarist Laurent Brancowitz, whom Bangalter and Homem-Christo formed the guitar-based group called Darlin' with before Daft Punk came into existence.

"The rock n' roll thing we did was pretty average, I think," Bangalter said in a previous interview. "It was so brief, maybe six months, four songs and two gigs and that was it."  

After the trio disbanded, Brancowitz went on to pursue other efforts while Bangalter and Homem-Christo organically became Daft Punk, a name they lifted from a negative review of Darlin' that dubbed their music "a bunch of daft punk."

"Rock 'n Roll"

Even when the dance music masters demand that folks "Stop the music and go home/I repeat stop the music and go home," the party continues, which is evident in their infectious, rhythmic song, "Revolution 909." 

"Revolution 909"

The pair truly came to life after a limited released single "The New Wave" in 1994 continued the final mix called "Alive," which is included in the track list of their debut album, which as a whole, was "regarded as an innovative synthesis of techno, house, acid house and electro styles … widely acknowledged as one of the most influential dance music albums of the '90s."

"Alive"

Daft Punk is now a multi-Grammy-winning duo that stays in rotation with new hit songs featuring some of today's biggest stars. But even 20 years ago when they debuted their freshmen collection without the help of big musical acts, it was quite evident that they'd take the music world by storm. It's exciting to think about what may come within the next 20 years. 

Homework is available on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, and Spotify.

Cover image: Virgin Records / Soma Quality Recordings

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