Here’s Part 3 of our 4-part review of Daft Punk’s Homework. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 as well!
9. Teachers – They called the album “Homework”, right? It only makes sense that Tom & Guy show their teachers proper respect. In under three minutes, Daft Punk literally shouts out a laundry list of their creative and musical heroes over one of the freshest breakbeats on the entire LP. This dirty funk-fest sees the boys naming checking everyone from Paul Johnson to Dr. Dre to Brian Wilson to future collaborators Todd Edwards and Romanthony. It’s a very nice homage to some of Daft Punk’s biggest influences; the extended mix on the b-side of certain European pressings of the 12″ for “Around the World is great to play out if you can find it.
10. High Fidelity – Compared to its preceding eight tracks, the second “half” of “Homework” is discernibly, well, different. This one features the duos’ now trademark big kick and some nice perc arrangements but what comes next is truly a great example of just how ahead of its time this record was:
Sampling was certainly nothing new at the time the boys knocked this out in Thomas’ bedroom, but Daft Punk took it one step further, applying a seemingly schizophrenic approach to the cut-and-paste job they did on (never officially confirmed) “Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel. No sample is listed in the liner notes, but the glaring sax sample and the snippets of vocals, keys, and record pops do make it seem almost obvious after a few listens and the “chop-job” videos that have appeared on YouTube do come mighty close to what DP did way back in 1996.
The genius here is the fact that they are subtly taking a big chunk of early 80’s hip-hop production techniques which frequently consisted of creating a “sound collage” by using short snippets and snatches of an assortment of (usually uncredited) different recordings and sound. The bits used here, albeit from one record, do work together to create an often overlooked gem on this album, and a prime example of Daft Punk’s “taking the rules and throwing them right out the window” attitude.
11. Rock’n Roll – Sounding like the evil twin “Rollin’ & Scratchin'”, this is another monstrous techno cut with harsh, minimalist kicks, jaunty claps, hi-hats and a warping, twisting synth line that dominates with its relentless and repetitive squelch. Not quite ready for prime time, but definitely a late-night gem especially when combined with a good acapella. One of the more monotonous tracks on the album, this was clearly aimed at the techno-heads.
12. Oh Yeah – Described by DP themselves as “a techno track that makes fun of techno tracks”, this one features vocals from DJ Deelat and DJ Crabbe from later Jess & Crabbe fame. It’s a loud, bleepy, noisy response to all the electronic haters who said that techno music was nothing but loud, bleepy noises. One of the few DP tracks I’ve ever not played out, the humour is spot on and you’ve got to give the boys credit for mixing it in over “Robot Rock” as part of their Alive 2006/2007 shows.
Well, there’s only Side D left to cover, so keep checking back for the conclusion to our 4-part review!