Friday, April 26th, 2013

Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky

“Regarding the lyrical composition, Pharrell stated that the song is not just about a sexual conquest, but the fortune in finding potential chemistry with someone.” –Wikipedia


Edward Okulicz: This is perfectly pleasant, in the way that any of the old, expansive disco records that got electrified and turned into 2000-era dance monsters are pleasant, in the way that “Cola Bottle Baby” is a fun track, but when stuff was added to it, it was really fun. What I mean is, this sounds like the “before” in the process in which Daft Punk might have taken something with potential and made it transcendent, not the “after,” which is what it has to compete with on the charts and in our hearts. It sounds like an okay Nile Rogers track. Pharrell’s singing is okay. The vocoder bit is there because it has to be, and it, too, is just okay. There’s nothing transformative about this meeting of the minds, they all do their things, but the combination isn’t magic or more than the sum of its parts; it’s merely a pleasant 2am cruise around the suburbs at 25 miles an hour.

Alfred Soto: Even on Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid” Pharrell sounded thin. How and why he became a signifier of soul in the early 2000s mystifies me; he manufactures a feeling. It works here because the damn track is hologram disco anyway. Thank Nile Rodgers, whose chik-a-chik-chik has supported everyone from Simon Le Bon to Grace Jones, from blank to frank. As for the name above the credits, it knows from holograms.

Will Adams: Part infinity in the series Will Adams Not Getting Daft Punk.

Patrick St. Michel: I’ve spent all week turning around ideas in regards to this song, but ultimately simplicity won out. Daft Punk haven’t lost their ability to create incredibly catchy music, and Nile Rodgers’ guitar contributions are disco pomp crystalized. But I just really don’t like Pharrell’s vocal, which monopolizes the song. I…sorta just want to hear Daft Punk make vocoder magic.

Anthony Easton: Pharrell Williams has done some serious work this year. His writing here is just this elegant shimmer of cheap gold lamé and silver foil. As beautiful as it is disposable.

Crystal Leww: The song is about getting lucky, but it’s not really makeout music so much as twirl-your-boo-and-corny-grin-in-the-club music.

Jonathan Bogart: I’ve been spending a lot of time with original-recipe disco for reasons of my own, and only Pharrell’s relatively relaxed singing and the clipped edge to the robo-voice keeps this out of the 1977 hall of fame.

Brad Shoup: If you’re seeking the hammock hang of a funk rhythm guitar, you’re in luck. If you want something for the proles… wait for the album, I guess. This is perfectly calibrated for the friends-of-friends party blues, with the glorious throwback bit saved for the end when you just need one thing to focus on. Get wistful to the filter funk, then get gone.

Sabina Tang: Daft Punk and Nile Rodgers are key contributors to GPH (gross planetary happiness). The warmly goofy lyrics feel more Lindstrømian-terrestrial than interstellar, though the undeniable hands-up moment remains 2:20 in, when those robotic cut-up voices (finally!) enter on the breakdown. Hardly matches the architectural ecstasy of “One More Time” — Pharrell is set on maintaining the groove rather than sparking off fireworks — but this radio edit’s lack of beginning or end only makes it easier to Infinite Jukebox. One point withheld for the proper club cut, which will surely make more of that zigzagging synth outro melody.   

Katherine St Asaph: Allow me to restate: Nile Rodgers, featuring Daft Punk, Daft Punk’s sequencer lines and passable Pharrell. If the second half sounds acres better than the first, there’s your answer. (Well, unless you’re listening to a looped leak. Did those ever even happen?)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: As TSJ’s resident Neptunes stan, I shall refer to a passage from Pharrell Williams’ Places and Spaces I’ve Been where he discusses the effect that seeing the Jacksons’ “Shake Your Body” on television as a child: “Why was [Michael Jackson] so different in that two-dimensional world? Was he just different?” Williams has always presented himself as proudly individualistic and while this has (rightly) made him iconic, he has never seemed able to approach the effortless poise of his own icons — his music is too busy, a zone where all his fascinations simultaneously jostle for attention, where ideas are stacked on top of ideas. (Revisit this years’ “Nuclear” and “Blurred Lines”: both deceptively simple, both plump with Williams’ idiosyncrasies and musical diversions.) On Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”, the weight of composing is lifted off of his shoulders and the clutter — great though it is! — vanishes, culminating in one of Williams’ best vocal performances. It is certainly his most poised, his most effortless, hell, his most Michael. His hosts don’t strain themselves musically, more a show of assurance than strained simplicity. As far back as Thomas Bangalter’s “Club Soda” from 1998, they pounded away at disco licks within the strains of house. One can understand them favoring a warmer sound, something more carefree, gleeful even. You would forget from their robot costumes or the Internet’s collective idol-worship streak that they are human, after all.

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10 Responses to “Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky”

  1. Conked out before I could re-edit, but s/o to Brandon Soderberg (@notrivia) for putting me up on the ‘Club Soda’ connection via his twitter acct.

  2. What Edward said.

  3. Pharrell’s vocals torpedoed it for me.

  4. I was hip-deep in Marvel cosmic comics and suddenly Pharrell Williams came on and started singing about the Phoenix Force, thought I’d gone around the deep end.

  5. The song’s just fine, but is this not kind of like hiring an original band member to be in your tribute act? How many other big-name comebacks have been virtually note-for-note, yet oddly low-stakes genre recreations?

    Am even more weirded out by how universally it’s been embraced by straight white indie/EDM kids – though neither are exactly the inheritors of “disco sucks”, you can’t imagine them thinking much of Chic for being too naff/pop/not arty enough etc.

  6. Also, is the sped-up Michael Jackson an instant improvement or what?

  7. *notices Alfred said Pharrell “manufactures a feeling”, gets ready for combat*


  8. Going tangentially off what Richaod’s saying, I think as much as the build-up has been a masterstroke in PR, the song itself is too. It’s all things to all people – in the UK at least, I can hardly envisage a radio station not playing it. Ones that play 60s/70s/80s onwards stuff will like it, R&B stations, dance stations, ‘indie’ stations, generic pop stations… They’ve played this pretty well, intentionally or not.

    And more specifically on what you’re saying, I’d venture that not that many Young People buying this would really be in any way familiar with Chic, even those who consider themselves ‘into music’. Even Pharrell is somewhat symbolic of a bygone era – who knew either of them held such currency in 2013?

  9. I think part of it is that the promo campaign from Daft Punk’s people has been… well.. the most skilful I can remember. Any hack can blanket the web with ads, but who gives a crap about those. Daft Punk got their stuff covered as exciting news.

  10. Pretty sure it was Chad Hugo on the chorus of Kendrick’s “good kid,” which probably is some of the reason why the voice sounded so thin.