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Best Daft Punk Songs: 20 Tracks That Revolutionised Electronic Music
Maud Bernos 2007
List & Guides

Best Daft Punk Songs: 20 Tracks That Revolutionised Electronic Music

With clever samples, era-defining beats and a few guest collabs, the best Daft Punk songs are timeless retrofuturistic classics.

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When it comes to dance and electronic music, Daft Punk rewrote the rulebook. After forming in 1993, the acclaimed French duo immortalised themselves through their classic retrofuturistic aesthetic and countless timeless records. From their humble bedroom-production beginnings (Homework), Daft Punk have grown to become one of the most in-demand acts of all time, collaborating with everyone from Kanye West to The Weeknd, Nile Rodgers, Strokes’ frontman Julian Casablancas and numerous other musical A-listers. With such an extensive collection of inspiring hits, choosing the best Daft Punk songs no easy task – but here are 20 that we think fit the bill.

Listen to the best of Daft Punk here, and check out our best Daft Punk songs, below.

20: Phoenix (1997)

Before Daft Punk were Daft Punk they shared the stage with Phoenix band member Laurent Brancowitz under the band name Darlin’, before disbanding and going their separate ways. Released as the fifth single from their debut record, Homework, Phoenix is a fun, upbeat tune that samples Elton John and Kiki Dee’s 1976 hit, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. You won’t hear it spoken about much, but the hook is iconic, its raw danceable tone shimmering alongside a thumping Chicago house beat. The song would later be remixed by Basement Jaxx as part of Daft Punk’s first remix album, Daft Club, placing it in the company of acts such as The Neptunes and Slum Village.

19: High Life (2001)

Perhaps not as well known as it should be, High Life nevertheless holds its own among the Daft Punk’s best songs. A pure serotonin boost spinning a short looped vocal sample that leads the disco-esque track’s bouncing positive energy, it appeared on the duo’s game-changing Discovery album, which helped take Daft Punk away from their Chicago house roots, incorporating disco, electronica and 70s pop as it redefined dance music for the 21st century.

18: Human After All (2005)

As the opening track on Daft Punk’s third full-length (and most underappreciated) album, Human After All sets the tone for the rest of the record. Proving they are, indeed, human – not the giant-headed robots we know them as – Daft Punk created the album in a mere six weeks with two guitars, two drum machines, a vocoder and one eight-track recorder. Thomas Bangalter stated that the record was “about this feeling of either fear or paranoia” rather than “something intended to make you feel good”. Its title track was a natural-sounding demonstration of Daft Punk’s wider goals for the album: a more improvised piece of work reflecting the music they wanted to create at the time.

17: Lose Yourself To Dance (2013)

Channelling more than just an inkling of disco, Lose Yourself To Dance begins with the instantly recognisable rhythm guitar of disco legend and Chic band member Nile Rodgers, who is closely followed by Pharrell Williams, who also turned in a notable performance on Random Access Memories’ lead single, Get Lucky. Again channelling a more natural-sounding tone, the quartet of Daft Punk, Rodgers and Pharrell craft a silky smooth 80s-style production “meant to evoke the sense of being unified and connected on the dancefloor”, as Bangalter put it. Evidence that some of the Daft Punk’s best songs arise from collaboration, Lose Yourself To Dance utilises live drum performance and recorded claps which drive the song forward for a lighter, more instinctive dance feel.

16: Superheroes (2001)

Superheroes is one of those tracks that seems to take you to another galaxy. It is thumping (to say the least) yet very smooth-sounding, while also creating an uplifting ascent. The track samples Barry Manilow’s 1979 song Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed, accompanied by a minimalist acid-house instrumental that leans towards a more glossy pop production. Boasting uncontrollable grooves, spacey synths, disco samples and synth-guitars, it’s classic Daft Punk.

15: Revolution 909 (1997)

Named after the Roland TR-909 drum machine – used heavily on Homework – Revolution 909 sees Daft Punk craft the ultimate instrumental house groove for the album’s final single. The song begins with a skit featuring crowd noises, car horns, police sirens and an officer declaring through a megaphone, “Stop the music and go home,” before the beat erupts in typical Daft Punk fashion. The skit and music video is said to be a reflection on the French government’s attitude towards rave parties, which Bangalter summed up as a lack of understanding of house music and culture.

14: Instant Crush (2013)

While working on the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, Thomas Bangalter and Guy De Homem-Christo – both fans of The Strokes – met with the group’s frontman, Julian Casablancas, in their studio to present him a demo. With vocals, guitar and additional production from Casablancas, Instant Crush became a highlight on Daft Punk’s fourth album, Random Access Memories. With chilled-out melodic verses and choruses offering an infectious synth-pop groove, the track itself offers a masterclass in simplicity and is an iconic collaboration among Daft Punk’s best songs.

13: Something About Us (2001)

One of the more stripped-back, R&B-tinged productions you may hear from Daft Punk, yet also one the most impactful. Something About Us is a romantic head-bob of a track exhibiting the more soulful songwriting that made Discovery an album for the ages. Incorporating sweet keyboards, slow funk bass and wah-wahed lead melodies, the duo produced a surreal yet intimate retrofuturistic sound.

12: Voyager (2001)

Once again displaying Discovery’s magnificent genre-splicing, the disco-orientated Voyager is fresh and extremely funky, suited to any setting – whether that’s a workout, dancing alone in your room or finishing off your homework. Incorporating ambient textures, rhythmic guitar and an addictive bassline that the likes of Bernard Edwards (Chic co-founder) would have been envious of, Voyager remains one of the best Daft Punk songs.

11: Face To Face (2001)

This glitchy disco-pop anthem features harsh samples from not one but two Electric Light Orchestra records, Evil Woman and Can’t Get It Out Of My Head, and was the fifth single from Discovery. Featuring vocals from American house producer Todd Edwards, of whom Daft Punk are passionate fans, this fruity number also found Edwards assisting on composition and overall production. Having found themselves fashioning one of the best Daft Punk songs together, the trio later reunited for another go on Random Access Memories’ Fragments Of Time.

10: Robot Rock (2005)

The lead single from Daft Punk’s controversial third album, Human After All, Robot Rock consolidated everything that makes rock and dance music so powerful, with thrashing power chords, guitars, effects pedals and an outrageous synthesiser line lifted from Breakwater’s Release The Beast. It’s not Daft Punk’s most creative use of sampling, but there wasn’t much need for that with the pure gold they found on Robot Rock. As with Human After All, the single received a mixed response, though it’s probably the most typical Daft Punk-sounding track on the album.

9: Technologic (2005)

Arguably the most impactful single from Human After All, Technologic rocks in true Daft Punk fashion, its robotic hook touching on our reliance on technology (“Buy it, use it, break it, fix it, trash it, change it, mail, upgrade it/Charge it, point it, zoom it, press it, snap it, work it, quick erase it”). The single itself has been re-used and remixed several times, notably by Busta Rhymes on Touch It, produced by Swizz Beats, and by Dua Lipa on a performance of Hallucinate that made up part of her Studio 2054 concert, livestreamed in November 2020. Daft Punk later borrowed Rhymes’ Touch It back for their Alive 2007 live album, mashing it up with Technologic for a famed performance that included additional samples from Robot Rock and Voyager.

8: Crescendolls (2001)

Those familiar with Interstella 5555: The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, the anime film which accompanied Discovery, may recall that Crescendolls was the name of the movie’s intergalactic protagonist pop group. Not many songs can follow Harder Better Faster Stronger on a tracklist, yet Crescendolls manages remarkably well, crafting a knees-up party anthem with hard-hitting disco/house grooves, pulsating synths and epic soul samples that hold their own among the top Daft Punk songs.

7: Aerodynamic (2001)

Beginning with some ominous bell sounds, Aerodynamic’s unforgettable groove blends house, disco, electro and rock, and featuring a lavish guitar solo more obviously suited to a 70s-style progressive rock track. Even incorporating elements of baroque music (as is evident in the last minute of the tune), Guy Manuel De Homem-Christo described Aerodynamic as “a mix between the past and the future, maybe the present’”. Undoubtedly one of Daft Punk’s finest instrumental efforts.

6: Da Funk (1995)

Filthy in the best possible way, the electronic frenzy of Da Funk is built on a G-funk-type groove, urban nightlife samples and a hip-hop beat inspired by Warren G’s 1994 classic, Regulate. It’s crazy to think that Da Funk didn’t receive much attention following its release, in May 1995, but when The Chemical Brothers started including it in their live performances, the song received the wider attention it deserved. Cementing its status as one of the most iconic Daft Punk songs of all time was the Spike Jonze-directed music video, which featured a crutch-using, boombox-carrying anthropomorphic dog wandering the streets of New York City.

5: Get Lucky (2013)

If you haven’t heard Get Lucky by now, then please come out from under your rock. The first tase of Daft Punk’s long-awaited fourth album, Random Access Memories, it tore up even Daft Punk’s own rulebook, paying homage to the duo’s original 70s and 80s funk and disco influences. Scrapping their gritty electronica sound in order to record soul and funk grooves with disco-master Nile Rodgers, overlaid with vocals from hip-hop and pop icon Pharrell Williams, the group scored a global smash that immediately took its place among the best Daft Punk songs. At the time of its release, Get Lucky broke streaming records to become the most-played song in a single day on Spotify. It also saw Daft Punk win Record Of The Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Grammys, with Random Access Memories also taking home the Album Of The Year and Best Dance/Electronic Album awards at the 56th Grammys ceremony.

4: Digital Love (2001)

One of the most romantic efforts among the Daft Punk’s best songs, Digital Love is enhanced by DJ Sneak’s lyrics, which speak on feelings of unresolved love and longing. Sung by Daft Punk in typical vocoder style, the tune evokes imagery of romanticising lost loves through a sea of time and space and, in the case of the Interstella 5555 movie, dreaming alone on top of your bed in a spaceship shaped like a Gibson Flying V. An utterly contagious sample of George Duke’s I Love You More induces feelings of nostalgia, but as the track continues, the beat feels heavier and more house-like, bouncing alongside rising pads, dreamy keys and soloing synth-guitar to produce an expertly structured and heartfelt anthem.

3: Around The World (1997)

Over 20 years after its release, Around The World remains a game-changer for both the electronic and dance music genres. Simple yet ever so effective, the duo repeated the song’s title 144 times over a backdrop of synth licks, thumping drums and what quickly became one of the most iconic basslines in 90s dance. Unsurprisingly, the single fulfilled the promise of its title and became a major club hit around the world, peaking at No.1 in the dance charts across the UK, US, Italy, Iceland and Canada. Michael Gondry also tapped into Daft Punk’s expert use of repetition in the track for its promo video, which featured four distinctive groups of dancers dancing in a circular motion, representing a vinyl record as well as each of the song’s individual instruments.

2: Harder Better Faster Stronger (2001)

Probably the most distinguishable (and undoubtedly one of the best) Daft Punk songs, Harder Better Faster Stronger delivers a springy, raw, disco-infused instrumental bolstered by synth-funk bass, trashy cymbals and the notable Edwin Birdsong sample (Cola Bottle Baby). For Alive 2007, the duo remixed the tune with Around The World and Human After All’s Steam Machine for a legendary – and Grammy-nominated – live performance that can still rock listeners to their core. Let’s also not forget Kanye West’s Stronger, which popularised Daft Punk’s already global hit even further after he sampled it for the second single from his 2007 album, Graduation.

1: One More Time (2000)

Few tracks have as much universal appeal as One More Time. Topping our list of the best Daft Punk songs, it remains instantly recognisable and confidently stands as one of the greatest party anthems of all time. The track itself boils down to clever sampling, futuristic effects-processing and an autotuned vocal from US DJ and singer Romanthony, whose vocals glide effortlessly across the booming side-chained beat. One More Time powered through the charts, paving the way for Discovery to become the duo’s most famed and critically well-received album. By 2013, the song had sold over a million copies – a first for Daft Punk – solidifying itself as the pair’s most celebrated and inspirational record.

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