From My Bloody Valentine to David Bowie to Daft Punk, 2013 is all about dramatic comebacks. But where Bowie kept his return under wraps until the last minute, and nobody actually believed Kevin Shields' assurances that a new album was on the way until m b v was actually in our hot little hard drives, Daft Punk have taken the opposite approach. The run-up to Random Access Memories has turned out to be one of the longest, teasingest album campaigns ever, and we're still six weeks away from the album's May 21 street date. And a wild guest list full of famous producers and collaborators have apparently been invited to the party.
Capitalizing on fans' longstanding hunger for some new robot rock -- the secretive French duo haven't put out a new studio album since 2005, not counting their 2010 soundtrack to TRON: Legacy -- Daft Punk have used the Internet rumor mill to their advantage, doling out meager morsels of information and letting social media do the work of promoting. In February, they confirmed signing to Columbia Records by posting a portrait emblazoned with the label's logo to their website. In early March, they unveiled 15 seconds of new music in a TV commercial so fleeting and unexpected that it left Saturday Night Live viewers pinching themselves to make sure they weren't actually dreaming. On March 23, they put Random Access Memories up for digital presale, again with no fanfare beyond a simple link from their own website, and the next day, they unleashed 15 more seconds of music in between SNL sketches. Most recently, they've begun sharing a series of video interviews with collaborators featured on their new album, so far focusing on Italo-disco icon Giorgio Moroder and New Jersey house pioneer Todd Edwards.
Those two names are at the top of an unconfirmed list of contributors to the album that's been making the rounds; it also includes super-producer Nile Rodgers, "Chilly" Gonzales, The Strokes' Julian Casablancas, Pharrell Williams, Panda Bear, French house veteran DJ Falcon, songwriter Paul Williams ("We've Only Just Begun," "Just an Old Fashioned Love Song") and session player Paul Jackson, Jr. (The Temptations, Luther Vandross). The list looks pretty legit; Rodgers has already confirmed his involvement in the record, and Gonzales recently tweeted, "I just heard THE album that EVERYONE wants to hear and KEEPS asking me about," so unless he was talking about Ray J or Brad Paisley, it's a good bet that he's involved. We've put together a playlist showcasing all the alleged players on the new album, and rounded it out with a few Daft Punk rarities, just for good measure.