“Everyone will be computerized,” the robots sing. And every thing, apparently, including the stuff in a box at the back of your closet. That’s where Computerized, a previously unreleased collaboration between Daft Punk and Jay Z leaked on the Internet Monday, must have come from.
The song certainly sounds like something covered in dust bunnies, judging by the the frosty, cascading synths sampled from the French electronic duo’s soundtrack for 2010’s Tron: Legacy. There’s also the BlackBerry name-drop in the rap mogul’s verses about romance in the digital age, or the lack thereof: “Start mackin’ on my BlackBerry / she got jealous, I was tappin’ on my BlackBerry.” It would have been a great shout-out to the corporate serf class, married to the blinky red light even when they’re ordering bottle service.)
Like a lot of the unreleased tracks and little-heard b-sides that clutter up (and occasionally enhance) reissues, Computerized is a pretty good little tune in the vein of Kanye West’s Daft Punk-sampling Stronger, only instead of a dance-floor anthem, it’s a half-wistful, half-panicked lament for our mobile-tech era. And Hova exhibits surprising compassion compared to the big-pimpin’ Jay of yore: “Another message, spilling her heart out – what a mess this is.”
So why are we only hearing it now? My guess: label wrangling kept the track under wraps. By the time it was worked out, Daft Punk had swerved from techno-futurism into the disco-riffic lane of their latest album, Random Access Memories, and Jay Z had cut a deal with Samsung, not BlackBerry, to release Magna Carta Holy Grail on its devices.
You can say one thing for technology – before the Internet, fans often waited decades for labels to trot out shelved recordings. Today? Hail to the leak.