Hello and welcome to The Reason Why I’m all about that bass, and today, we are going to be taking a look at the classic Daft Punk debut album, Homework.
Daft Punk are a French electronic music duo, who are considered to be the biggest influencers of modern electronic music as well as two of modern music’s greatest creative minds. And this album over here is a fairly big contributor to that. This album is a huge reflection on the underground club scene in this decade, particularly in the French capital, where these two were born and raised.
The big draw to the clubs that played this style of music was the big buzzing basslines combined with the harsh but grooving melodies that combined to create Techno, and French House. Which is what the premise of this album was, it was set out to teach the rock and grunge kids that electronic music is cool and not just the reason why Madonna is still relevant.
As well as this, Daft Punk also wanted to recreate that synapse-tweaking sound that that Thomas and Guy-Man listened to when at these nightclubs. And for the most part, they succeeded with flying colours. The album kicks off with an intro track «Daftendirekt», which starts off with this deep vocal sample bubbling under, creating almost a bassline in itself.
This vocal is then brought to the forefront of the track, along with this simple drum pattern, which reminds me alot of the beat from one of the album’s singles, «Da Funk». In fact, some of the elements of the track pop up on this opening track, it almost feels like a prelude or a part 1. The track then smoothly evolves into the interlude «WDPK 83.7FM» (Yes! Got that right first time!), which is literally 18 seconds long, this is after a vocal cut which sounds like it comes from their B-side Musique.
Overall, these two tracks are a great way to introduce the album, and, while it is a subtle way to start this album, it does showcase what the listener can come to expect in the next hour or so. The next track is one of the big singles from the album, «Revolution 909». Which starts off with something that sounds like a scene from an old foreign movie or something, there’s an underground rave, and then the police come, sirens and everything, and then a policeman instructs the ravers to stop the music and go home.
This, as well as the video, shows how Daft Punk can get political in their music, they aren’t just expert craftsmen of club bangers, but also have the ability to show people that what the French and British government were doing at the time was not cool man. This track is really fast-paced and is a great example of how the duo can build up a song, create massive amounts of tension, and then releasing this tension to give the listeners the ultimate head banging moment.
The beat has several layers, with an eccentric drum beat that I swear was in that Cher song, Do You Believe, but anyway, it also has a whirring sort of… I don’t know, I don’t know! But it adds to the intensity of the track, as does this background noise, which kind of sounds like a plane engine, which gives the track an atmosphere. The track then breaks down, Daft Punk taking away these elements of the track until it is the bare bones of the song.
This is a common trope that the duo does, they have done it in several of their songs, such as Around The World, Robot Rock and One More Time, but is nonetheless effective. The next track is the lead single of the album «Da Funk», which is considered a prime example of 90s house music, and one of the best examples of why these guys are so beloved in pop culture.
It is full on sing-along song, and it’s instrumental. That lead riff… Christ almighty, that is a riff. The beat is simple, but it is harsh, full of bass, and grabs you by the neck and forces you to just run wild! And then, in the second half of the track, when you think the track reaches its peak, an acid-filled 808 bassline storms in and takes the track to another level! This track is what ghetto blasters were made for.
The fifth track on the album «Phoenix» is a great bit of gospel house, which isn’t as harsh as the previous two tracks, but still manages to craft a really great groove, with the layers drum sequences, the offbeat high hats, the morphed production, I mean, that’s just the beat behind this thing. We also have this almost psychedelic sample-based, refrain? Would it be a refrain? Let’s call it a refrain, on top of a tight, ascending and descending bassline that makes you feel good.
The track «Fresh», which is most famous for having a music video which acts as a second-parter to the classic «Da Funk» video, takes a more chilled-out vibe than the previous tracks on the LP, which is evidenced by the waves in the background, which also brings the song into play and plays it out. The next track is a 7 minute belter, which there are alot of on this album, but this one is especially significant, because it is «Around The World».
If you want proof that Daft Punk can make catchy and infectious dance music, this is proof. 3 words repeated in this track nearly 150 times, and it never gets old. It is by far the best track on the entire LP, and that is saying something. And that’s down to the complex bassline that just won’t quit! As well as the sprinkling of a synthetic keyboard that goes hand in hand with the bassline.
It’s a sheer musical achievement. Just, a really fantastic song, with a fantastic music video, if you haven’t seen it check it out. Now from the most radio friendly track on the album, to very much the least, «Rollin’ ‘n’ Scratchin’». This shows how well the track placement on Homework is, the contrast is huge between them. This track is a dangerous, violent machine powered by this borderline torturous squeal. It somehow works, it’s sort of like this growling monster that’s living and breathing throughout the track.
It turns aggressive, calms down and everything in between, it’s got a life of its own. The accompanying bassline is equally as assertive in its ear-splitting groove, and the beat is littered with hi-hats, and just makes this beast all the more menacing. The next track is kind of an interlude, and is certainly the most funkadelic track on the album, «Teachers».