Human After All
After the effervescence of Daft Punk’s first two albums (Homework and Discovery), 2005’s Human After All popped like a stiff collar on a black leather jacket. The party continued, but the mood was more foreboding, more heavy metal. And where the group had previously signaled that the robots came in peace, now technology took on a dystopian cast: “Television Rules the Nation,” the unyielding intensity of “Technologic,” the way “The Prime Time of Your Life” accelerated like a malevolent treadmill. At a time when electronic and dance music was continuing be absorbed into the indie-rock vernacular by artists like M83, Hot Chip, and LCD Soundsystem (who wrote Daft Punk an entire song—“Daft Punk Is Playing at My House”—in tribute), Human After All felt like Daft Punk turning into something noisier and more insular. Looking back, it’s easier to see the way each of their albums seemed to comment on—and pivot away from—what had come before. The territory may have been jagged and undiscovered, but the planet remained the same.