Sunday, May 15, 2011


Artist: Daft Punk
Released in:1997
File Under: Famous

I grew up in the suburbs, and unsurprisingly there was a mall in the neighboring town. I spent the most time at the Rave clothing store and in Waldenbooks, both of which have long since gone out of business. The place to go for your best 90's style was Contempo Casuals (bought out years later by Wet Seal), and they had a giant screen behind the check-out desk where they played music videos.

Usually, the videos were your typical bland shopping fodder. But I remember standing transfixed in front of the screen one afternoon -- there were suddenly mummies, girls in sequins and bathing caps, guys with giant shoulders, skeletons and robots. They were all on a series of raised circular platforms, sorted into groups, and they were doing mechanistic, adorable dance moves. The beat had a nice thump, with a bouncy, playful top note. It only had one lyric that repeated over and over: Around the World.

That was my introduction to Daft Punk, and I bought Homework shortly thereafter. I never really adored the album, though -- Around the World is by far the cutest, catchiest song. The rest are well-done but not as interesting (to me) acid house/techno tracks, with stand-outs including Da Funk and Teachers. I do get a special kick out of Teachers since it's a list song (thanks, Stephen Sondheim, for introducing me to the concept). It also has a bassline that should be enshrined as the definition of squelchy: it kicks in at about :32 and is particularly audible around 1:06.

Although nearly fifteen years have passed, Around the World remains one of my favorite tracks. I've even been known to perform the moves from the video at parties. So, though this album as a whole wasn't too exciting to revisit, the shot of 90's nostalgia that it triggered has been enjoyable.

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