While Wee Waa, Australia (pop. 2,100) may be hosting the launch party for French electronic duo Daft Punk’s new album, Random Access Memories, devotees in the small town in New South Wales will not be getting first dibs on hearing the tracks. Backed by a much hyped rollout campaign, the album is easily one of the biggest releases so far this year.
Since this morning, fans have been able to stream the new album via iTunes, which was bogged down – especially in Australia – by fans accessing the newest offering by the robot dancing duet.
Fans jumped to spread the news. “HERE IT IS! Daft Punk – Random Access Memories.”Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Judging from Sony’s gleeful promotion of the “leak” in social media, the move was clearly intentional. The marketing ploy worked. Three days after the album’s first single was released last month, it was number one on iTunes in France and the UK and number three in the U.S. It also set records for most streamed track on Spotify in the U.S. and UK as well.
On Friday, the official launch of the album will take place in Wee Waa – Australia’s “cotton capital”, some 17,000 kilometers from Paris – at the 79th Wee Waa show, which causes the town’s population to swell to around 4,000 each yet. Speculation for why the group has chosen the remote spot range from its proximity to the Narrabri Observatory and its cluster of six 22-meter-high satellite dishes – well suited to the band’s interstellar aesthetic – to its communal small town vibe.
The album, which features numerous collaborations, from Pharrell Williams to Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), has received largely positive reviews mixed with some dissenters that underline the love-hate relationship many music aficionados have with Daft Punk.
Billboard called the album “messy…filled with passages that can be trimmed and one or two too many plodding songs.” On balance, Billboard added, “But it’s also fantastic to hear these masterminds trying again.”
“What we can tell you is that 'Random Access Memories' lives up to its billing as the year’s biggest electronic album and one of its biggest comeback records, wrote Tom Lee of FACT Mag. Lee added that this year has had mean competition too, with comebacks by the likes of David Bowie, My Bloody Valentine and Boards of Canada, among others. Lee has been joined by other critics in calling the song “Giorgio by Moroder” a highlight.
The band will not be present in corporeal form this Friday in Wee Waa, but an image of them in robot costume will no doubt be beamed in.