Alive 2007 album cover
Alive 2007

Daft Punk


Ten years after the “electronica” boom and their debut album Homework ushered them onto the international stage, Daft Punk had overcome an initial industry skepticism over the commercial feasibility of dance music to become the godfathers of its mass-success rebranding as EDM. And this was their victory lap: a staggering live set, recorded in the midst of their legendary 2006-07 Alive Tour, that turned their own body of work into the best possible remix of itself. Tweaking the traditions of both DJ mixes and live-band sets until they blur into each other, the Paris homecoming performance captured by Alive 2007 turns their discography inside-out with surprising but fitting juxtapositions that distill all their supposedly disparate elements. The eclectic house fundamentals of Homework, the nostalgic-yet-enduring pop euphoria of Discovery, even the once-derided abrasive mechanical grind of Human After All are streamlined into a panoramic view of their own idea of a signature sound. And that leads to some fun revelations — in part, just how thoroughly it redeems the Human After All material that initially seemed like grim, repetitious martial slogs. It’s a real aha moment hearing how the glowering, viscous stomp of “Steam Machine” is stitched into the cathartic joy of Discovery closer “Too Long” to create a stunning push-pull between those two supposedly at-odds moods, or how the medley that segues from the busted-hydraulic lurch of “The Prime Time of Your Life” and the relentless electro-thrash riffage of “The Brainwasher” melts into pressurized Homework highlights “Rollin’ and Scratchin’” and “Alive” reveals just how common that undercurrent of noisy havoc always was in their work. And the disco-loving, pop-friendly side of them benefits, too, fusing favorites like “One More Time”/"Aerodynamic” or “Around the World”/"Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” into crossfaded conversations with themselves that find as much fascinating contrast as commonality — all delivered with the kind of immaculately timed, crowd-thrilling peak-after-peak momentum that no Vegas-residency DJ could even dream of touching.

Nate Patrin

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