Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, one of the most anticipated albums of the year, isn't out until May 21. But with the tracks now streaming free online, we can decipher what the enigmatic French dance-music duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter has been inventing in their disco-balled laboratory.
Um, Paul Williams?
Yes, Williams, that cherubic hit-making refugee from the 1970s, lends lonely-boy vocals and songwriting chops on Touch, a sprawling epic of space oddities and cruise-ship conga-line spirit. Irony-free.
How does Daft Punk get the party started?
Opening track Give Life Back to Music glides to Nile Rodgers's light funk-jangle guitar and then, bam, a dramatic Travoltian turn straight out of Saturday Night Fever. And just to make sure the vibe is understood, some party-people chatter is dubbed in – a trick cribbed from Lionel (All Night Long) Richie.
Still with the vocal-manipulation shenanigans?
Yep, it's Daft Punk's thing. Listen to the chilled, sexy The Game of Love. A robot with a broken heart longs for the 1980s and what was left behind. Humanized synthetica.
What's the song of the summer?
The sublimely dance-y single Get Lucky was released last month, and it sounds better than ever within the context of the album. "So, let's raise the bar, and our cups to the stars." Indeed.
Does Daft Punk make dance floors safe again for adults?
Red Bull-fuelled fist-pumping and colossal LED screens suddenly are passé. Random Access Memories marks a return to original disco aesthetic: chic, in a word. "Lose yourself to dance" is the chorus of the album – an instruction more easily followed now than ever.