The song “Touch,” from “Random Access Memories,” begins playing — “Hold on,” go the lyrics, “if love is the answer, you’re home” — as the remaining bandmate walks into the sunset. The years 1993 to 2021 flash on the screen.
Daft Punk released its debut album, “Homework,” on Virgin Records in 1997, finding unlikely international hits in “Da Funk” and “Around the World.” The duo’s follow-up, “Discovery,” came out in 2001 and included singles like “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” (later sampled by Kanye West) and “One More Time.” In 2005, the group released “Human After All,” touring extensively in the two years after, including a memorable performance atop an elaborate light-up pyramid at Coachella in 2006 that was Daft Punk’s first concert in the United States in nearly a decade. A live album from this period, “Alive 2007,” later won the Grammy for best electronic/dance album.
In the years that followed, even as its myth grew and so-called E.D.M. D.J.s and producers became a billion-dollar business, Daft Punk retreated somewhat from the sample-based dance music it helped popularize. For “Random Access Memories,” which would be released by a new label, Columbia Records, the group used renowned session players and sought to make “every sound from scratch, creating a sonic world from the ground up,” Bangalter told The Times.
“In some ways it’s like we’re running on a highway going the opposite direction to everybody else,” he said, adding: “Computers were never designed in the first place to become musical instruments.”
“Get Lucky,” the album’s lead single featuring Pharrell Williams, would go on to become the group’s most successful song to date, hitting No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Daft Punk later achieved its first and only career No. 1 as guests on “Starboy” by the Weeknd, which they performed (along with another collaboration, “I Feel It Coming”) at the Grammys in 2017. It would be their final show.