Harder, Better, Faster, Over: After Almost Three Decades, It’s the End of the Line for Daft Punk

Daft Punk

There is a very good chance that, over the past two-plus decades, you have danced the night away to the electro-pop tunes that Daft Punk has become synonymous with.

The French duo, who have announced that they are going their separate ways after 28 years, formed in 1993 and released their debut album — Housework — in 1997. It was this first sonic offering that spawned the dance hits Around the World and Da Funk, achieving that elusive balance of music that was both deeply cool and somewhat experimental whilst palatable for the mainstream masses. 

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Perhaps to maintain both artistic credibility and a modicum of privacy, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo began appearing in public only ever clad in robot outfits, a move that became their calling card, and rarely granting interviews as themselves. 

Masters of both anonymity and the avant-garde, Daft Punk continuously blurred the lines of art, technology, music and performance and thus managed to cement themselves as one of the most influential dance acts of all time. Releasing Discovery in 2001, the duo were catapulted into global stardom with the success of the singles One More Time and Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – the latter of which was sampled by Kanye West, earning the rapper a Grammy in 2008. 

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Known for their epic and eye-popping live performances, the dance duo became a staple of arenas, clubs and music festivals around the world (had to), even lending their immeasurable talents to the Tron: Legacy soundtrack in 2010. 

With the release of 2013’s Random Access Memories, Daft Punk experienced a renaissance, of sorts. The duo collaborated with powerhouse Pharrell Williams on two tracks — the still ubiquitous Get Lucky and its follow up, Lose Yourself to Dance — and won themselves an additional three Grammys, including Album of the Year.

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The pair went on to work with Kanye West once more on his Yeezus album, notably on tracks Black Skinhead, and I Am a God.

Continuing the trend of working with the industry’s “it” artists, Daft Punk later collaborated with The Weeknd on 2016’s Starboy — resulting in their first Billboard number one. Similarly, follow up I Feel it Coming managed to infiltrate the Billboard Hot 100’s top five. 

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Almost ominously, I Feel it Coming would turn out to be Daft Punk’s final single, although the pair continued to work as producers. 

Daft Punk embodied a hard-to-define spirit of rebellion, postmodernism and mystery, while still seamlessly featuring on the journey of so many awkward teenagers entering a club for the first time, to being full-grown adults reminiscing about those very experiences.

Somehow, they have found a way to tread that delicate tightrope of hipster approval and radio-friendly fare. Their contribution to music and their genre-bending of it is undeniable with many music industry heavyweights expressing gratitude and sadness at the duos decision to part.

All in all, DJ and producer Mark Ronson perfectly articulated their impact on popular culture, and their fellow artists, with a Tweet reading, “Daft Punk left the game with a flawless legacy. I would say enviable but impossibly unattainable is more appropriate.”

Watch their farewell video, Epilogue, below. 

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