“You just think, ‘Has this song always been around, or am I just hearing it for the first time?’ It’s fucking amazing.” That’s the normally malcontent Britpop statesman Noel Gallagher describing how so many of us felt about Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” in 2013: From just 15 seconds teased during a Saturday Night Live commercial break in early March, we sensed the electronic duo had hit on an inspired and majestic sound for their retro-focused, sample-free fourth LP Random Access Memories. It was instantly catchy and strangely familiar, and once we learned that, yes, that irresistible liquid funk riff came courtesy of legendary Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers, the internet was in a frenzy to hear more. Comments on our post about a second SNL commercial — e.g., “those two 15-second snippets of music are the COOLEST DAMN THING I’ve heard in like 10 years” — were telling.
When the robots, Rodgers, and 2013 MVP Pharrell Williams appeared in that Coachella screener — a week before the single was released in full — the phenomenon of “Get Lucky” was in effect. By mashing elements of various musical styles — a reflection of the modern monogenre? — the song hit in America on Billboard’s dance/electronic chart, alternative chart, mainstream Top 40 chart, even the adult contemporary chart. It had something for everyone, and everyone heard it (except Henry Rollins). By July, “Get Lucky” won Stereogum’s annual Song Of The Summer poll in a landslide. And since a full-length music video for the track never materialized, television picked up the slack by celebrating the legend of the phoenix on the Emmys, Dancing With The Stars, the Voice, X Factor, the MTV VMAs and EMAs, Showbiz Tonight, Jeopardy!, Kelly And Michael, New Girl, Le Grand Journal, Fallon, Colbert, etc. In an era when artists can no longer rely on traditional media to popularize their music, the throwback jam from the faceless French guys bulldozed through the pop culture landscape.
We also heard it covered by dozens of popular bands, which was just as well, since Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter themselves never performed the song live. (That could change at next month’s Grammys ceremony, where the song will compete for Record Of The Year.) In the past few weeks, we’ve seen “Get Lucky” honored in many publications’ lists of the year’s best tracks. Spotify named it 2013’s most viral track (it had the most streams in 24 hours). And in our annual readers’ poll the Gummy Awards, the single recently took top honors in the Best Song category. It was The Year Daft Punk Broke (sorry), so let’s take a look back at how inescapable “Get Lucky” was with a supercut below. Thanks Matt Neatock for helping me put it together. Enjoy.