Human After All
|Human After All|
|Studio album by Daft Punk|
|Released||14 March 2005|
|Recorded||13 September – 9 November 2004|
|Daft Punk chronology|
|Singles from Human After All|
Human After All is the third studio album by French duo Daft Punk, first released on 14 March 2005 internationally and a day later in the United States. With it, the duo took a minimalistic and improvisational approach to their music with a mixture of guitars and electronics. A remix album called Human After All: Remixes was later released exclusively in Japan. Human After All was Daft Punk's last studio album released under Virgin Records.
Human After All received mixed reviews noting its reported six-week creation, which is particularly short compared to previous albums Discovery and Homework. The singles "Robot Rock" and "Technologic" charted in several countries while the title track "Human After All" charted in France. The songs would later be incorporated into Daft Punk's Alive 2006/2007 tour to critical acclaim. Human After All reached number one on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart, and was nominated for the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album.
Daft Punk considered Human After All to be their favorite of the three studio albums they had created at that point, and regard it as "pure improvisation." An early press release stated that the record would "[retain] their trademark Daft Punk sound, this time with a more spontaneous and direct quality to the recording". Human After All's brief creation and minimal production had been decided upon beforehand as counterpoint to their previous album. As Thomas Bangalter of the duo stated, "We were definitely seduced at the time by the idea of doing the opposite of Discovery." He compared the deliberately unpolished record to "a stone that's unworked." Human After All was created primarily with two guitars, two drum machines, a vocoder and one eight-track machine. Furthermore it was produced in two weeks and mixed in four, a session in sharp contrast to their older material.
Bangalter has stated that the album is an attempt to discover where human feelings reside in music. He later commented that "we felt like the third album was about this feeling of either fear or paranoia... [The record is] not something intended to make you feel good". Bangalter felt that Human After All and the film Daft Punk's Electroma are both "extremely tormented and sad and terrifying looks at technology, yet there can be some beauty and emoting from it." He acknowledged the perceived mechanical quality of the record, but felt that it expressed "the dance between humanity and technology".
As Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo noted, "Every album we’ve done is tightly linked with our lives. [...] The internal, personal stuff Thomas went through during Human After All made it closer to where he was at the time". When questioned on the positive reaction to the use of the tracks in Daft Punk's Alive 2006/2007 tour, Bangalter expressed that, "Human After All was the music we wanted to make at the time we did it. We have always strongly felt there was a logical connection between our three albums, and it's great to see that people seem to realize that when they listen now to the live show."
The cover image of Human After All features the Daft Punk logo displayed on a television screen. Each single from the album ("Robot Rock", "Technologic, "Human After All" and "The Prime Time of Your Life") features a cover with a different image on a similar screen. This television theme is also expressed with tracks from the album, including "On/Off" and "Television Rules the Nation". Bangalter cited the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell as an inspiration for the record.
Release and promotion
When the album was leaked on the Internet several months before release, fans speculated that it was a fake designed to foil online filesharing. Human After All on compact disc was embedded with the Copy Control protection system in some regions. Spin recalled that the official album release was ill timed, as it occurred after the end of the "major-label electronica movement" of the 1990s, but before the rise of independent dance labels such as DFA Records and Ed Banger. The Japan edition of the album artwork features a quote from Daft Punk stating: "We believe that Human After All speaks for itself." At the time of release, the duo refused to be interviewed; they felt that using the media to explain the album would run contrary to the album's theme regarding the media as an oppressive force. De Homem-Christo later felt that choosing to be silent was the worst decision they had ever made.
The Alive 2006/2007 tour, which featured tracks from Human After All, caused people to reconsider what they felt about the album. Pedro Winter, Daft Punk's manager at the time, stated, "When we put out Human After All, I got a lot of bad feedback, like, 'It's so repetitive. There's nothing new. Daft Punk used to be good.' Then they came back with the light show, and everyone shut their mouths... People even apologized, like, 'How could we have misjudged Daft Punk?' The live show changed everything. Even if I'm part of it, I like to step back and admire it. Me, I cried." The first single "Robot Rock" received moderate attention, reaching #32 in the UK and #15 on the U.S. dance charts, but was not a major hit. The second single "Technologic" only hit #40 in the UK but did considerably better in airplay. The track has also been featured on The O.C. and in an iPod commercial. A sample of the song was used as the chorus for Busta Rhymes' single "Touch It". The title track "Human After All" reached #93 in France.
Daft Punk directed the music videos for the songs "Robot Rock" and "Technologic" while Tony Gardner directed the video for "The Prime Time of Your Life". The duo intended to make a video for the song "Human After All" as well, but the footage they shot for it was expanded to create the film Daft Punk's Electroma instead. Songs from Human After All also appear in the Daft Punk compilation Musique Vol. 1 1993–2005 and the live album Alive 2007, the duo's last release under Virgin Records. In a 2008 interview, de Homem-Christo stated that the duo were then free of all record contracts. Daft Punk would later pursue one-time contracts with Walt Disney Records and Columbia.
Human After All received generally mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 57, based on 28 reviews. In his review for Blender magazine, Simon Reynolds said that Discovery's blissful and "open-hearted" music is replaced by "an archly ironic dance-rock that feels desultory and numb verging on autistic." Q magazine felt that it lacks the "fun" of Daft Punk's previous work. Barry Walters of Rolling Stone said that the duo generally "repeats rather than elaborates its riffs", and that they "exaggerate their band's own robotic tendencies here, much to the detriment of its grooves." Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian called the album "a joyless collection of average ideas stretched desperately thin." Robert Christgau from The Village Voice graded the album a "dud", indicating "a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought."
In a positive review, Matthew Weiner of Stylus Magazine stated, "it's the same story, track after track, willfully mistaking alternation for variation, intensification for development and dynamics. In other words, a shining example of pop songcraft in the 21st century." Mojo magazine said that it "strips out the most flamboyant frills to create a more incisive sound." Human After All was nominated for the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album.
|1.||"Human After All"||5:19|
|2.||"The Prime Time of Your Life"||4:23|
|3.||"Robot Rock" (Bangalter, de Homem-Christo, Kae Williams)||4:47|
|8.||"Television Rules the Nation"||4:47|
- "Robot Rock" features sampled portions of "Release the Beast" performed by Breakwater.
- Daft Punk – vocals, guitars, drum machine, synthesizer, piano, bass guitar, vocoder, programming, production
- Cédric Hervet – production coordination
- Gildas Loaëc – production coordination
- Nilesh "Nilz" Patel – mastering
Human After All: Remixes was released on March 29, 2006 exclusively for Japan. It features numerous remixes previously unavailable on CD in a limited pressing of 3,000 copies. A limited edition of the album included a set of Daft Punk Kubricks. The album implements a Copy Control system. Track 10 was previously titled "Robot Rock (Maximum Overdrive)" in the single release of "Robot Rock".
In June 2014, a reissue of the album was released, also exclusive to Japan. The new edition features four additional bonus tracks. In August 2014, Daft Punk silently gave the album its first ever digital, international release, containing an additional remix of "Technologic" by Le Knight Club.
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||36|
|Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)||23|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)||8|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)||11|
|French Albums (SNEP)||3|
|Italian Albums (FIMI)||8|
|Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)||36|
|Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)||87|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||30|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||8|
|UK Albums (OCC)||10|
|US Billboard 200||98|
|US Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)||1|
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- Human After All at Discogs (list of releases)
- Human After All: Remixes at Discogs (list of releases)