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3WA 2018 #42: Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (Soundtrack)

Was it a great movie? Maybe not. Did it look amazing? Mostly yes.

Did it sound fantastic? Oh, indeed it did.

What is it?

Tron: Legacy (Soundtrack) is, as one can surmise from the name, the soundtrack to the sequel movie released in 2010 that nobody really expected to ever get made. But if it had to get made, it’s best that they did so while Daft Punk were at the height of their powers, the better to provide the absolutely ideal music.

How does it sound?

I haven’t a CLU.

Why this pick?

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but there’s only one other Daft Punk album I like as much as this one. (More on that, later.) It was always going to be that one or this one if I picked a Daft Punk record for this project at all. I went with the soundtrack because there’s just so much to choose from here. It’s basically the same ratio of hits to misses, but since there are more shorter pieces it works out to a greater number of actual tracks I like.

I’m weird. I know.

Which songs are the highlights?

As previously stated: When talking about soundtracks, what you get out of any given piece may rely entirely on how you felt about the part of the movie where that piece was used. We must also keep firmly in mind that a soundtrack is basically an exercise in weaving several distinct motifs together, in slightly different ways, over and over. With that said, I have a few highlights to point out and some general thoughts overall.

The most recognizable track here is, ha ha, “Recognizer.” It’s been used for Tron: Legacy‘s own trailers and a few others besides, not to mention popping up in a game trailer or two. Following close behind is probably “Derezzed,” from the party scene in the movie where Daft Punk themselves make a cameo appearance.

In terms of more standard-sounding soundtrack fare, “Adagio For TRON” and “Flynn Lives” and “Solar Sailer” count among my favorites.

Interestingly, while at no point do you find yourself thinking “Daft Punk didn’t make this song,” when you hit the end titles track you realize that they were holding back on their inherent… Daft-Punk-ness… the entire time.

Which songs don’t work so well?

Some of the pieces, such as “The Game Has Changed,” rely on a drum beat laced with a high-frequency buzzing effect that is far too annoying for my tastes. Similarly, “End of Line” devolves into electronic noise a few times. (I still, um, actually like that song. But fair warning is fair.)

“The Grid” is really just a speech with a bit of music behind it. (It’s a cool speech, mind you.)

Which album did you almost pick in favor of this one?

Discovery, absolutely. I mean, it has its own anime film. Correction: It has its own anime film produced under the supervision of Leiji Matsumoto! How cool is that?

(Too bad I no longer have a copy of the DVD. Lost it in the divorce, sadly.)

Any final thoughts?

If you pick up this record, also do yourself a favor and grab the Reconfigured remix set as well. Its remixes of “The Grid” and “The Son of Flynn” are superior to the regular versions, at least for casual fun value. Note that the remix of “Derezzed” on the actual official remix album isn’t that good, but there’s a standalone single for a very good “Derezzed” remix available.

And if we’re going to talk about the different versions of this release, well: If you want all the possible tracks you get to buy the Deluxe Edition (which I did) and the Reconfigured disc (yep) and the “Derezzed” single (uh huh) and the Amazon-exclusive bonus track, “Sea of Simulation” (check) and the iTunes-exclusive track (…no) and… you get the idea. The release for this record makes some AAA video game titles look tame by comparison with their Day One DLC shenanigans.

Daft Punk’s greatest strength, that ability to find and set a supremely groovy hook, is also their greatest weakness: Many of their hook-iest songs wear out their welcome far too quickly. “Around the world around the world, around the world around the world, around the world around the world…” And this is why I’m only ever going to be a middling fan of their work.

But I’m still a fan. And they made an anime film with Leiji Matsumoto, so they’re super cool in my book.

2 Comments

  1. It has been said that Tron: Legacy was merely a 90-minute long Daft Punk video. I am perfectly okay with this view.

    Just based on total plays, “Derezzed” is far and away my favorite Daft Punk song. I’m not sure that any two other DP songs combined have as many plays.

    As far as DP’s best album goes, I’ve gotta give that to Alive 2007. Part of that may be because I’ve never heard a full DP album. Lots and lots of singles, but I’ve never sat down and listened from track 1 to track 20 for anything other than Alive 2007.

    • If you can find a good streaming rendition or physical copy, get into Interstella 5555, because it’s basically the Discovery album in anime form, and it’s effing glorious. Bonkers, Leiji Matsumoto in full Galaxy Express style, gloriousness.

      The only reason “Derezzed” (well, the remix) isn’t my #1 most-played Daft Punk song ever is because “Harder Better Faster Stronger” exists, and it’s from… Discovery.

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