Here’s a quick analysis of the album structure for Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. After discussing it at length with a few friends, I wanted to find the real details as to why the album structure was so great.
Here’s what I’ve found:
- They have paced the album to have a mirror structure tonally. The “1st Half” and “2nd Half” of the album are almost the exact same length, and the entire album uses Touch as a central balance point.
- Given Touch’s melodramatic tone, they’ve placed both of the tracks with the strongest groove (both happen to be Pharrell’s guest tracks) right before and after Touch.
- The two slowest tracks are each 1 place from the beginning and end, to keep the overall balance of the album in equilibrium.
- There’s amazing attention to detail in the key changes from track to track. Most easily noticeable in the Chilly Gonzales piano segue from track 3 to 4.
TLDR; Daft Punk have focused on creating something that is intended to be listened to from front-to-back, without any real focus on getting the “singles” in front of you as early as possible. This is something not seen too often in popular music since most things have moved to digital track sales.