[5] Daft Punk, ‘Digital Love’

Digital Love

Everyone says this sounds like Buggles, and I think that’s because it does. Tune in each day for more searing analysis.

Daft Punk have a taste for the kitsch, but these machine dreams feel so genuine that the gorgeous whole transcends the jokey means. As the treble gets turned up at the beginning, thrills mount. Robot funk is submerged in electronic wash, a murky drift that’s patted down by the shrill verse before bass bounds in and sweeps it clear. From then on, just bask in ludicrous ‘guitar’ shapes and vocoder taken to nauseous extremes, but most of all in a pop song sweet as sugar.

Junior says: “He sounds sad.” I hadn’t thought of that, but there’s a touch of the Paranoid Android. Still, I think it’s about hope. Junior soon got over the melancholy and undulated back and forth, the way she deftly moves her hula hoop.

Best bit: The panriffic ‘guitar’ solo.

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[6] Buggles, ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’

I’m concerned I may have to defend this one. EASY. Just look at Junior finding the glee in the poignancy, making her plastic tiger leapfrog her plastic lion, all in time to the ecstatic pulse of the music. Watch her punching the air and performing the dance of the seven veils with her sister’s muslin square; it’s a dizzy representation of the song’s way with the possibilities of pop.

‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ suffers from the “novelty” tag, being, on the surface at least, a one-hit wonder with a chipmunk, quasi-synthesised chorus. Then there’s Trevor Horn, all bubble-perm and oversized specs, hardly projecting an image of a man about to push pop’s boundaries to glorious and ludicrous extents with ABC and Frankie Goes To Hollywood respectively. But we’re not interested in surface. The song’s depth is in the bittersweet nostalgia, the regret at the passing of an age of music even as it embraces the new world, and also in the symphonic electronica – crescendos, drop-outs, even a sense of the fat lady singing. MTV co-opted it as the anthem of triumph of picture over audio, making it the first song to be played on the station, and perhaps they hit the nail on the head. It’s a requiem and celebration rolled into one.

[2] Daft Punk, ‘Digital Love’

No one actually realised that we needed a reworking of ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’, but need it we did, and at this point in time these glossy disco-techno robot chiefs were the men to bring it to life. ‘Digital Love’ tickles the underbelly of naff, wraps it in fake-fur and plasters it with thousands of tiny mirrors. Yes, it’s a hugely uncool mirrorball of a dancefloor clearer, doing more for the synthesised electric guitar than any record since ABBA’s we-really-should-be-going-now farewell single ‘Under Attack’.

Junior’s mum and I are the biggest ‘Digital Love’ fans this side of Justice. Junior herself wasn’t so sure. This was played in my absence and I’m told that comments ranged, rather narrowly, from “Too loud, Mummy” via “Stop singing, Mummy” to “Stop dancing, Mummy”. On being told that a guitar solo was coming up, she replied “I don’t like guitar”. Anyone who’s seen her pulling Gary Moore faces while wielding the plastic Stratocaster will know that’s a blatant lie. Must have been one of those days.

[17] Queen, ‘Radio Ga Ga’

The brainchild of the producer’s producer Trevor Horn, the Buggles took this to No.1 in 1979 and invented Daft Punk in the process. It is often derided as a novelty record, but this poignant slice of early electronica broke barriers and melted video age hearts.

Oh SORRY, Roger, was ‘Radio Ga Ga’ inspired by your baby son’s infant ramblings? Silly me. Actually, Queen go a stage further and are nostalgic for good radio, not any old radio. They update their sound with the synths, but can’t resist a typical massed clapalong. Ah, it’s ok.

I’m going to record a song based on Junior’s newfound vocabulary. Entitled ‘Radio Dada’, it will be an absurdist conceptual piece railing against the bourgeoisie and the conservatism of Magic FM.