Robot Rock (song)

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"Robot Rock"
Single by Daft Punk
from the album Human After All
Released April 11, 2005
Format CD, 12"
Recorded 2004
Genre House, electronic rock[1][2]
Length 4:47 (album version)
3:06 (radio edit)
Label Virgin
Writer(s) Thomas Bangalter
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo
Kae Williams
Producer(s) Daft Punk, Cédric Hervet, Gildas Loaëc
Daft Punk singles chronology
"Something About Us"
(2003)
"Robot Rock"
(2005)
"Technologic"
(2005)
Music video
Robot Rock on Dailymotion

"Robot Rock" is the first single from Daft Punk's 2005 album Human After All. While the single reached a moderately high chart position, many critics found the song overly repetitive.[3][4][5][6] It prominently features sampled portions of "Release the Beast" performed by Breakwater.

Composition[edit]

"Robot Rock" features a prominent synthesizer riff with an oscillator sync timbre, sampled from the Breakwater song "Release the Beast".[7] Daft Punk also incorporated other elements of the "Release the Beast" into the production, including percussion and power chords on an electric guitar. A vocoder[8] phrase featuring the title of Daft Punk's single was also added to the recording. Aside from the sampling, Thomas Bangalter noted that the duo used a Moog synthesizer with guitar pedals for the song.[9]

The Breakwater sample is credited on the single's sleeve and on the liner notes of the parent Human After All album. This was not the first time Daft Punk have sampled a song to create a new recording, as "Digital Love" would be a noted example. Bangalter explained that on his Roulé label, "we've been doing records that are 9 minutes with only [a single] one second loop, with even less foundation than there is on 'Robot Rock'. It's always been a way to reinterpret things—sometimes it's using [an] element from the past, or sometimes recreating them and fooling the eyes or the ears, which is just a fun thing to do."[10] He elaborated that the song "is a tribute to the power of heavy rock chords. In a way I think we were exploring if you can take the essence of rock—that power—and mix it with dance. But to take a riff and loop it is to explore the core of rock."[11]

The Breakwater synthesizer riff is absent from the "Maximum Overdrive" remix of "Robot Rock", which consists of the song's other elements for a duration of nearly six minutes. A music video for this remix has been shot and included on the Daft Punk Musique Vol. 1 1993-2005 compilation CD/DVD. "Robot Rock" was later used in the film Iron Man 2, in a scene where James Rhodes fights Tony Stark while both wearing versions of the Iron Man suit. The song is also featured on the game DJ Hero mixed with band Queen's "We Will Rock You" and is called "We Will (Robot) Rock You".

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Robot Rock" consists of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk performing the song on a stage decorated with several televisions and lights, and filmed on VHS, to achieve an aged look. This is the first video to feature the duo as themselves exclusively. This pattern continues for the rest of the Human After All videos except for "The Prime Time of Your Life", where they only make a cameo appearance. Bangalter plays the double neck guitar shown on the "Robot Rock" single cover while de Homem-Christo performs on a single set of drums.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Though it reached moderate positions in UK and U.S. dance charts, the single encountered criticism for its general structure. A review in Stylus Magazine expressed that the track "does nothing, means nothing and goes nowhere for an unconscionably long time."[3] References to earlier Daft Punk singles were also mentioned, as Rolling Stone declared "nothing builds to achieve the prior glories of 'Da Funk' or 'One More Time'"[4] and Pitchfork Media noted that the single "is a poor man's 'Aerodynamic'."[5] However, a Sputnikmusic review noted that "although annoying in nature, [it] is also very rewarding to listen to."[6]

Chart performance[edit]

Charts (2005) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[12] 12
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[13] 6
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[14] 12
France (SNEP)[15] 79
Germany (Media Control Charts)[16] 100
Hungary (Dance Top 40)[17] 38
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[18] 17
UK Dance (Official Charts Company)[19] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[20] 32
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[21] 15

Single track listing[edit]

  • CD single (VSCDX1897)
  1. "Robot Rock" (radio edit)
  2. "Robot Rock" (Soulwax remix)
  3. "Robot Rock" (maximum overdrive)[nb 1]
  4. "Robot Rock"
  • 12" maxi single (Virgin 8687696)[22]
  1. "Robot Rock"
  2. "Robot Rock" (maximum overdrive)
  3. "Robot Rock" (Soulwax remix)
  4. "Rockapella"

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Robot Rock (maximum overdrive)" was later titled "Robot Rock (Daft Punk maximum overdrive mix)" in the album Human After All: Remixes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kaitlin Nichols (25 October 2011). "Justice Audio Video Disco". Mind Equals Blown. Retrieved 30 June 2013.  "“Ohio” is the least heavy of the rock-esque tracks, and has one of the highest potentials for being spun at clubs. It’s also a bit reminiscent of Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock.”"
  2. ^ Rolling Stones. "Daft Punk - Biography". Expand The Room. Retrieved 30 June 2013.  "riff-heavy rock ("Robot Rock")"
  3. ^ a b Matthew Weiner, Human After All review at Stylus Magazine Online (March 14, 2005)
  4. ^ a b Barry Walters, Human After All review Rolling Stone (April 7, 2005)
  5. ^ a b Mark Pytlik, Human After All review Pitchfork Media (March 15, 2005)
  6. ^ a b Daniel Incognito, Human After All review Sputnikmusic. Retrieved on June 26, 2007.
  7. ^ WhoSampled - Daft Punk's Robot Rock sample of Breakwater's Release the Beast
  8. ^ Doris, Jesse (May 21, 2011). "Robocall: A Conversation with Daft Punk". Time. entertainment.time.com. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Technology cannot be trusted" at the Wayback Machine (archived February 21, 2008) thedaftclub.com. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  10. ^ Nadeau, Cheyne and Nies, Jennifer (July–August 2013). "The Work of Art Is Controlling You". Anthem (29): 36–37. 
  11. ^ "A Round with Daft Punk". Q, issue 257 (December 2007).
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be – Daft Punk – Robot Rock" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  13. ^ "Ultratop.be – Daft Punk – Robot Rock" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  14. ^ "Daft Punk: Robot Rock" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  15. ^ "Lescharts.com – Daft Punk – Robot Rock" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  16. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  17. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége" (in Hungarian). Dance Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  18. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Daft Punk – Robot Rock" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  19. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Dance Chart. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  20. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  21. ^ "Daft Punk Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Daft Punk. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  22. ^ "Daft Punk - Robot Rock". Spanish Charts (Hung Medien). Retrieved on 21 May 2012.

External links[edit]