2 Songs, 11 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The pantheon of unreservedly perfect songs is small, but Stardust’s “Music Sounds Better With You” belongs there. The fact that the 1998 song is the only thing the French house supergroup ever did only adds to its mystique. Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Alan Braxe had begun working together the year before, when Braxe released the single “Vertigo” on Bangalter’s Roulé label—a cornerstone of the funky, filter-heavy house sound that would become known as the French touch. Braxe, Bangalter, and singer Benjamin Diamond penned a rough version of the song for a live gig at Paris’ storied Rex Club, then retreated to the studio to polish it. The flickering disco sample comes from Chaka Khan’s 1981 song “Fate,” but you could be forgiven for not recognizing it: In Stardust’s hands, that looped guitar lick, backed by opalescent Rhodes chords, expands to wall-of-sound proportions until it all wraps you up in a kind of velvet embrace. Diamond’s vocals cut through the swollen frequencies, at once ecstatic and matter-of-fact: “I feel right/The music sounds better with you.” He may have been singing to a lover, but for most listeners, the “you” is the song—a modest but measurable improvement on life itself.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The pantheon of unreservedly perfect songs is small, but Stardust’s “Music Sounds Better With You” belongs there. The fact that the 1998 song is the only thing the French house supergroup ever did only adds to its mystique. Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Alan Braxe had begun working together the year before, when Braxe released the single “Vertigo” on Bangalter’s Roulé label—a cornerstone of the funky, filter-heavy house sound that would become known as the French touch. Braxe, Bangalter, and singer Benjamin Diamond penned a rough version of the song for a live gig at Paris’ storied Rex Club, then retreated to the studio to polish it. The flickering disco sample comes from Chaka Khan’s 1981 song “Fate,” but you could be forgiven for not recognizing it: In Stardust’s hands, that looped guitar lick, backed by opalescent Rhodes chords, expands to wall-of-sound proportions until it all wraps you up in a kind of velvet embrace. Diamond’s vocals cut through the swollen frequencies, at once ecstatic and matter-of-fact: “I feel right/The music sounds better with you.” He may have been singing to a lover, but for most listeners, the “you” is the song—a modest but measurable improvement on life itself.

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