'Human After All,' and the Grammys prove it
Following the 56th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night, there were opinions circling the web about the eclectic French duo Daft Punk and its winnings. Looking at a survey by HLNTV.com, a CNN site dedicated to TV, more than 50 percent of those who responded believe that Daft Punk did not deserve to win album of the year.
As most musicians do, the Daft Punk duo came from humble beginnings. Following the disbandment of the rock band Darlin', Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, the men behind the masks, teamed up to form Daft Punk.
Homem-Christo and Bangalter, who play guitar and bass, respectively, began to experiment with drum machines and synthesizers, producing a smooth mixture of techno, house, acid house and electro styles. Their music debuted in French Hype night clubs owned by their promoter until they finally achieved success and signed a deal with Virgin Records.
Often regarded as control freaks, Daft Punk's members chose to sacrifice money for control of what they produce. In fact, the two, especially Bangalter, are strongly opposed to making much money for their musical creations.
The duo is not only unique in sound, but also in stage presence. It focuses on a playful storytelling atmosphere achieved through visual components. Most popular, and criticized, are the helmets which are part of their robot persona. Because it is something different, and a little strange, people find it annoying and weird. However, it's all a part of the overall effect for which the two are going.
The helmets, like Daft Punk, are mysterious and playful. According to Bangalter and Homem-Christo, they allow the fluid combination of human and machine. In actuality, though, the two, as most people, were just shy and chose the masks to help them conquer stage fright.
It's natural for people to question the winnings, because they don't make mainstream music and rarely appear in the public. In fact, most people don't even know what they look like. This is how Daft Punk likes it.
Daft Punk would prefer for people to love and enjoy their music while avoiding becoming stars themselves. The robots are the stars, not the people. Homem-Christo and Bangalter deserve respect for wanting to stay out of the media's eyes and live their private lives how they should — privately.
The duo allows the music to speak for itself, letting people feel it rather than using typical lyricism to project emotions onto the listener. This is a big reason why many do not like the creations of Daft Punk. However, it doesn't matter what the people like to listen to at the Grammys. In the end, the listeners don't vote.
Grammy nominations are entered by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and record companies. Following their submissions, the work enters a reviewing session of over 150 industry experts. If the work is deemed worthy, it enters a final vote to determine which artist wins the category.
Daft Punk won the Grammys for its album "Random Access Memories," a surprisingly smooth blend of disco, electronic and funk.
Worlds different than previous albums, RAM strays from the duo's heavy EDM style and reflects on musical style from the 1970s and '80s. Daft Punk produced this album with the argument — music has lost much of what has made it great.
So suggests the opening track of the album "Give Life Back to Music," a glance into the high fidelity the rest of the album delivers.
Maybe Daft Punk's songs aren't your favorite for sing-alongs. They might not even have a spot in your iTunes library. But they should, because 150 experts believe that the duo made the best album of 2013, and musical experts probably know a little bit more about what makes an album excellent and award-worthy than a bunch of college kids on Twitter.
Daft Punk is just two robots trying to spread their innovative and creative music to as many people as possible while challenging the norm and expanding our minds.
If there's anyone who lost to them who can say they're doing the same without caring about money, fame or possession, I'd like to see them start acting like it. Maybe then they'll be holding the Grammys next year.
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