Gather round, grandchildren, because I’m going to tell you a tale of a time long ago. It was the year of our lord 1995, when Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” song five million copies, obnoxious guitar-wielding high school students argued about whether “techno” was “gay”, and most people didn’t have home internet connections. It was also the year when Abel Tesfaye turned five.
In December of 1995, into this strange, innocent world came a single called “Da Funk” by an unheralded French electronic duo called Daft Punk, who did not wear motorcycle helmets or pretend to be robots or play shows in a giant pyramid. And lo, the track was awesome, and so it was that the rockist dickheads stopped denouncing electronic music as “music for fags” and started dancing, shuffling their feet self-consciously as they sipped at their Miller Lites. And so it was that the foundations were laid for what came to be called EDM, which is a long and complicated history that grandpa doesn’t have the time to talk about today.
But the point is, there was a time when Daft Punk were interesting and innovative and not mysteriously devoted to trying to embody the least interesting aspects of the music of the 1970s. Unfortunately, children, that time is long gone, and instead Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter are forever devoted to making boring mediocre shite like “Starboy,” a collaboration with The Weeknd that has the curious quality of being both entirely forgettable and yet impossible to dislodge from your head.
And speaking of The Weeknd, one day I’ll tell you about the brief period when he was interesting: the wondrous year of 2011, when he released three mixtapes that were sort of Bret-Easton-Ellis-meets-R.-Kelly, and were exactly as fascinatingly horrifying as that description might suggest… wait, where are you going?