Retro-futuristic electronic act
Since the Grammys first announced an award for dance/electronica album in 2004, no act nominated in the field has also won album of the year. “Random Access Memories,” in fact, is the first pure dance record to win album of the year since the soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever” took top honors at the 1979 ceremony, although dance-centric artists such as
The Grammys have been making grander overtures to the dance community in recent years, most obviously in 2012 with a Deadmau5-anchored live performance. What’s more, “Random Access Memories” has something Grammy voters love even more than
The French duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo started out in Paris as a punk-leaning indie rock group before trading their guitars for computer sequencers and making a name as an underground rave act. "Random Access Memories" saw the act moving in a slightly more organic direction, ditching digital trickery to recreate '70s-era funk and disco. Collaborators included Chic's Nile Rodgers and disco producer Giorgio Moroder.
While this was Daft Punk’s first album of the year nomination, the longstanding dance act was far from unknown to Grammy voters. The group appeared with
Released in May of last year, "Random Access Memories" has sold more than 884,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, and spawned the summer hit "Get Lucky." The latter, featuring acclaimed artist and producer Pharrell Williams, has sold more than 3.3 million downloads.
Daft Punk bested one of the biggest hits of 2013, Swift’s “Red.” The latter has sold more than 3.9 million copies and would have given Swift her second album of the year win. Other contenders for the top prize this year were Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” and
In recent years the Grammys have largely rewarded traditional musicianship with its album of the year prize. Last year, the turned-to-11 folk group Mumford & Sons won album of the year, and soulful vocal stylist Adele took top honors two years ago.
The Grammys are determined by about 13,000 voting members. The eligibility period for nominated recordings was Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2013. The 56th awards are being held at