The Meaning Behind “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and Why They Never Sounded so Human

Daft Punk gave up using samples and returned to how artists recorded in the 1970s on “Get Lucky.” They reverse-engineered a technique they perfected—sampling and looping music from earlier times—and, instead, cut a record with live studio musicians in a large room recording studio like in the old days.

Videos by American Songwriter

The French robotic duo never sounded so human. At the time, Daft Punk thought music lacked distinctiveness. As a result, they recorded an album with humans instead of machines programmed to simulate metronomic humans. The advent of affordable music software democratized entry into music. But millions of artists using the same sample libraries also homogenized the work.

Leaving EDM to their past, they traveled further back on “Get Lucky” and joined forces with Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers. The paradox of two men dressed as robots putting sentience back into music is intriguing. Williams is a star of the era Daft Punk recorded in, while Rodgers helped define the era they glimpsed from the past.

“Get Lucky” appears on Random Access Memories, their fourth and final studio album. It’s also their best.

Lose Yourself

In a 2013 interview with GQ, Williams, speaking about his songwriting on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” said both songs “are for people who need a break.” He said, “There’s a lot of f–ked-up travesty in the world. Sometimes you just need a Hallmark card. Sometimes you just need to shake your ass.”

Like the legend of the phoenix
All ends with beginnings
What keeps the planet spinning
The force of love beginning

Daft Punk’s disco hit is preoccupied with a good time. Williams added the song’s repetition imitates how you don’t want the night to end. He cuts the moment like a sample, then turns it into a repeated earworm.

She’s up all night till the sun
I’m up all night to get some
She’s up all night for good fun
I’m up all night to get lucky

Get Serendipity

Williams talked about disco when he arrived in Paris to work with Daft Punk. He played some music he’d been working on, not knowing they had a similar track in mind featuring Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers, who takes Daft Punk back in time to Studio 54 with his Fender Stratocaster.   

Daft Punk asked Williams what he’d been working on; he told them he was “in a Nile Rodgers place.” A serendipitous moment for the musicians. Williams had earlier worked with Daft Punk, remixing “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” on their 2003 remix album Daft Club.

A lot changed in electronic music in the eight years between Daft Punk albums. Pop radio adopted the music they made a decade ago, and the robots needed a way to distance themselves from a sound they created.

Give Life Back to Music

The French duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo decided to go analog in a digital world. Random Access Memories is the first album they’ve made in a proper recording studio. They recorded the first three albums in Bangalter’s home—two in a bedroom and one in his living room.

Moving away from loops and samples on Random Access Memories, Daft Punk used live musicians who’d played on Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Off the Wall albums, taking a reverse tour to a different kind of dance music. Sampling had been central to Daft Punk’s music, but they replaced it with recording techniques from the ’70s and ’80s, recording in big-name studios with big-time artists.

With a live band, the instruments breathe instead of the restriction of heavily quantized machines—the push and pull of human imperfection. That restricting isn’t a bad sound, and certainly not in the hands of these capable robots, but “Get Lucky” feels like an emotional release. It feels like stepping outside after too much time in the house with the drapes closed.


They didn’t always hide their faces. Bangalter and de Homem-Christo, or Guy-Man, took press photos with their faces shown early in their career. They released Homework in 1997 and soon began wearing masks in public.

The robot helmets arrived with their second album Discovery in 2001. As their fame grew, they held onto their anonymity. One of history’s most influential dance music artists can go out to any restaurant or movie theater, and no one knows they are seated next to the “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” duo.

Instant Crush

Secrecy surrounded the then-new Daft Punk album, and the promotional rollout included Saint Laurent sparkling jackets designed by Hedi Slimane. They also ran promotional commercials during Saturday Night Live, and eventually, “Get Lucky” leaked online.

Did the hype work? In 2013, Williams’ projects held the top two spots on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, with “Get Lucky” at No. 2 and “Blurred Lines” at No. 1.

Also, “Get Lucky” set a record for the most streams in a single day on Spotify and won two Grammy Awards, including for Record of the Year. When accepting their award, the duo stood silently at the podium while Williams spoke “on behalf of the robots.”

Working in an era of electronic home recordings—something they perfected—Daft Punk rediscovered the past to make a uniquely new record in 2013.

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

Leave a Reply

Adele Forced To Postpone Las Vegas Residency Over Illness: ”I’m Sick Again”

Adele Forced To Postpone Las Vegas Residency Over Illness