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Human After All

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Human After All
Humanafterall.jpg
Studio album by
Released14 March 2005
RecordedSeptember – November 2004
StudioDaft House (Paris)
GenreDance-rock[1]
Length45:38
LabelVirgin
Producer
Daft Punk chronology
Daft Club
(2003)
Human After All
(2005)
Musique Vol. 1 1993–2005
(2006)
Singles from Human After All
  1. "Robot Rock"
    Released: 11 April 2005
  2. "Technologic"
    Released: 14 June 2005
  3. "Human After All"
    Released: 21 October 2005
  4. "The Prime Time of Your Life"
    Released: 17 June 2006

Human After All is the third studio album by French electronic music duo Daft Punk, released on 14 March 2005 by Virgin Records. Unlike their previous album Discovery (2001), whose sound was inspired by disco and garage house, Human After All was more minimalistic and improvisational with a mixture of guitars and electronics.

Human After All received mixed reviews from critics, who derided its minimalistic, repetitive nature and its six-week production time. However, the singles "Robot Rock" and "Technologic" charted in several countries, while the title track charted in France. The album's songs would later be incorporated into Daft Punk's Alive 2006/2007 tour, which received 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.

Background and structure[edit]

An early press release stated that the record "[retained] their trademark Daft Punk sound, this time with a more spontaneous and direct quality to the recording".[2] Human After All's brief creation and minimal production had been decided upon beforehand as a counterpoint to Discovery, which had been produced in two years.[3] Thomas Bangalter of the duo stated that they were "definitely seduced at the time by the idea of doing the opposite of" the latter album.[4] He compared the deliberately unpolished record to "a stone that's unworked".[5] Human After All was created primarily with two guitars, two drum machines, a vocoder and one eight-track machine.[6] Furthermore, it was produced in six weeks[7] from September to November of 2004,[8] a sharp contrast to their older material. Bangalter specified that four of those six weeks were devoted to mixing.[9]

Bangalter stated that the album was "about this feeling of either fear or paranoia" and "not something intended to make you feel good".[10] He said that both it and the 2006 film Daft Punk's Electroma are "extremely tormented and sad and terrifying looks at technology, but there can be some beauty and emoting from it".[11] He acknowledged the perceived mechanical quality of the record, but felt that it expressed "the dance between humanity and technology".[6]

At the time of Human After All's release, Daft Punk considered it to be their favorite of the three studio albums they had released, and regarded it as "pure improvisation".[4] Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of the duo noted that every album they had produced was "tightly linked with our lives" and that "the internal, personal stuff Thomas went through during Human After All made it closer to where he was at the time".[12] When questioned on the positive reaction to the use of songs from the album in the Alive 2006/2007 tour, Bangalter expressed that the album "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".[13]

The cover image of Human After All features the Daft Punk logo displayed on a television screen. Each single from the album features a cover with a different image on a similar screen. Bangalter cited the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell as an inspiration for the record.[14]

Release and promotion[edit]

When the album was leaked on the Internet several months before release, fans speculated that it was a fake designed to foil online filesharing.[15] Spin claimed that the album's official 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.[16] 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 said that choosing to be silent was the worst decision they had ever made.[14]

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".[17] 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.[18] Songs from Human After All also appear in the Daft Punk compilation Musique Vol. 1 1993–2005[19] and the live album Alive 2007.[20]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album topped the Billboard Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart[21] and peaked at number 98 on the Billboard 200.[22] It peaked at number three in France[23] and received a double gold certification from the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP) one month after its release.[24] It also received a silver certification from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in the United Kingdom,[25] where it peaked at number 10.[26] As of May 2013, the album has sold 127,000 copies in the US[27] and 80,838 copies in the UK.[28] The first single from the album, "Robot Rock", received moderate attention, reaching number 32 in the UK and number 15 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart, but was not a major hit.[29][30] The second single, "Technologic", only hit number 40 in the UK but did considerably better in airplay[31] and was featured in an iPod commercial.[32] The title track "Human After All" reached number 93 in France.[33]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[15]
Blender2.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment WeeklyC[34]
The Guardian2/5 stars[35]
Mojo4/5 stars[36]
NME7/10[37]
Pitchfork4.9/10[38]
Q2/5 stars[39]
Rolling Stone2.5/5 stars[40]
SpinC–[41]

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, indicating "mixed or average reviews", based on 28 reviews.[42] 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".[1] Q magazine felt that it lacked the "fun" of Daft Punk's previous work.[39] 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".[40] Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian called the album "a joyless collection of average ideas stretched desperately thin".[35] Robert Christgau from The Village Voice graded the album a "dud",[43] indicating "a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought".[44] 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".[45] Mojo magazine said that it "strips out the most flamboyant frills to create a more incisive sound".[36] Human After All was nominated for the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album, but lost to The Chemical Brothers album Push the Button.[46]

The Alive 2006/2007 tour, which featured songs from Human After All, caused many to reconsider their initial feelings towards the album.[47][13] 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".[48]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, except where noted.

No.TitleLength
1."Human After All"5:20
2."The Prime Time of Your Life"4:23
3."Robot Rock" (Bangalter, de Homem-Christo, Kae Williams)4:48
4."Steam Machine"5:21
5."Make Love"4:50
6."The Brainwasher"4:08
7."On/Off"0:19
8."Television Rules the Nation"4:50
9."Technologic"4:44
10."Emotion"6:57
Total length:45:38

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from the Human After All liner notes.[8]

  • Daft Punk – vocals, guitars, drum machines, synthesizers, piano, bass guitar, vocoder, programming, production
  • Cédric Hervet – production coordination
  • Gildas Loaëc – production coordination
  • Nilesh Patel – mastering

Remix album[edit]

Human After All: Remixes
Daft Punk - Human After All Remixes cover cleaned up.jpg
Remix album by
Released29 March 2006 (Japan)
August 2014 (worldwide)
Length56:43 (original)
83:55 (re-releases)
LabelEMI Music Japan (original)[49]
Warner Music France (re-releases)[50]
ProducerVarious

Human After All: Remixes is an album consisting of various remixes of songs from Human After All by musicians such as Soulwax and Justice. It was originally released on 29 March 2006[50] exclusively in Japan.[51] On 17 June 2014, a reissue of the album was released, also exclusive to Japan. The new edition featured four additional bonus tracks.[52] In August 2014, the album was silently released internationally for the first time, containing an additional remix of "Technologic" by Le Knight Club.[51]

Track listing[edit]

Human After All: Remixes (original release)
No.TitleLength
1."Robot Rock" (Soulwax remix)6:31
2."Human After All" (SebastiAn remix)4:48
3."Technologic" (Peaches No Logic remix)4:38
4."The Brainwasher" (Erol Alkan’s Horrorhouse dub)6:05
5."The Prime Time of Your Life" (Para One remix)3:52
6."Human After All" ("Guy-Man After All" Justice remix)4:01
7."Technologic" (Digitalism’s Highway to Paris remix)6:01
8."Human After All" (Alter Ego remix)9:26
9."Technologic" (Vitalic remix)5:27
10."Robot Rock" (Daft Punk Maximum Overdrive mix)5:54

Charts[edit]

Chart (2005) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[53] 36
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[54] 23
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[55] 8
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[56] 11
French Albums (SNEP)[23] 3
Italian Albums (FIMI)[57] 8
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[58] 36
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[59] 87
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[60] 30
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[61] 8
UK Albums (OCC)[26] 10
US Billboard 200[22] 98
US Top Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)[21] 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[24] 2× Gold 200,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[25] Silver 60,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

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External links[edit]