- July 08, 2013
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories. The French duo blessed us with a new long-player after an eight-year absence at the start of the summer, but a few months later, it's still unveiling itself to be full of surprises. Much has been written about the use of analog equipment in the recording process, and it's self-evident: The record is warm and inviting, and while Daft Punk has sidestepped its usual house-influenced electronic style, these collaborations with Panda Bear, Giorgio Moroder and especially Pharrell Williams prove their ability to transcend genres. Yes, it's long. No, we're still not sick of "Get Lucky.”
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I., "Blurred Lines." Speaking of Pharrell and songs that are incapable of becoming tired, "Blurred Lines" has given every other song on the radio a run for its money. All of the elements are impeccable: Pharrell's beat, which is the heart and soul of the song; Thicke's bravado; and the light-funk atmosphere that sets the scene for T.I.'s verse. This track isn't even attached to an album, and its runaway success is a throwback to when the singles format ruled the radio. A perfect song.
Quadron, Avalanche. Summer music, songs for the poolside or road-trip mix, can go in many directions: laidback acoustic jams or maybe soothing vocals on top of hip-hop inspired sounds, occasional up-tempo numbers, and so on. Avalanche, the latest from a Denmark two-piece named Quadron, manages to squeeze the many qualities of summer into one slick, immaculately polished and produced record. With vocals that call to mind everyone from Erykah Badu to Prince, and the top-shelf musicianship major label money can buy (including a surprise appearance from Kendrick Lamar), Avalanche is a dreamy work that fits squarely in the frame of the continuing evolution of R&B.
Charli XCX, True Romance. Charli XCX, the voice behind Icona Pop's unmistakable "I Love It," is the kind of pop musician we can get behind, a unique, fiercely independent personality with a gothic, glam, and overall fun image fitting for the anything-goes age of the social network. True Romance collects the pieces of the best parts of pop songwriting--endless hooks, elliptical lyrics, dense and progressive dance beats--and wrings 13 memorable songs out them. "What I Like" is the sing-along anthem about being "husband and wife" with the naive but sincere assertiveness of youth our summer needs.