Tunes Test, um, Friday: Tron: Legacy by Daft Punk

Often you don’t really know what you’re getting into when you embark on something new in life.  For instance, I couldn’t really give anyone, not even my long-suffering wife, an idea of what might happen with the new music blogging nonsense I’ve decided to try.  This little adventure could end up a sparkling success – not to be mistaken for a sparkling emo-vampire, which is both lame AND nonexistent as everyone knows vampires are totally all violent and blood-thirsty – but it could just as well crash and burn in a display of pyrotechnic glory that would make even the Rozzi family envious.

If you asked me a few weeks ago, I’d have said the odds were good that when I sat down each week to pen a few words about my chosen new musical experience, I’d end up staring off in to space, slack-jawed and drooling like that one kid in middle-school history class.

But not this week, thank goodness.   This week’s new music pick was Tron: Legacy by Daft Punk.  And yes, I totally stacked the odds in my favor right out of the gate.

See, the thing is, strictly speaking this CD isn’t new to me.  I mean, it’s from a movie.  A movie I’ve seen.  More than once.  So, you know, one might expect the music to be at least somewhat familiar.

If you’re expecting the music to be full of synthesizers, electronic chirps, beeps, and rhythms, etc, since you know, that both kind of goes with the film and matches Daft Punk’s style, you’d be right.  But that’s not all this is.  I lack the proper vocabulary to describe it well, but it’s more sweeping than just that; more orchestral(?).  That probably doesn’t help much, but the point is you don’t get the feeling you’re in some dark London underground techno club thrum-thrum-booming along one track after another.  Which is good, because I left all my fluorescent stuff back in the states.

The question, though, is what did I think of it by itself, separated from the weighty encumbrance of plot, theme, characterization, and visualization.  You know, that niggling, inconvenient "movie stuff." Did it stand on its own without the structure provided by the film to hold it together, or was it lacking shape and form like a shirtless middle-aged software engineer?

Well, in my opinion, questionable as it may be, the album does just fine all by its lonesome.  In fact, with the exception of the second track, "The Grid", which includes a short snippet of Jeff’s Bridges’ dialog, I rarely even think of the movie when I’ve got this one rolling through the play queue.

For me, the best part about Tron: Legacy is also its biggest drawback: it’s perfect for when I’m writing.  That came as something of a huge, and welcome, surprise because I’d given up on ever listening to music while making up words.  Lyrics always somehow get tangled up with the words I want to write, and ultimately, I end up singing to myself while staring blankly at that damned incessant blinking cursor.

Nobody wins in that case. My singing voice is the envy of night-crooning alley cats everywhere; I don’t need to be singing to anyone, anytime, anyplace.  And yes, that includes even alone to myself.  Especially if I should be writing instead.

The best part is that not only does Tron: Legacy rule as tunes to work with, but it also made me realize I don’t have to toil in the vacuum of a sound-proof room if I choose not to.  My world has just opened up to a universe of instrumental bodies of work.

What’s the drawback, then?  Well, ever since having my epiphany, I’ve mostly done exactly that, listening to the CD in the background as I work.  Which means that while I know I enjoy it, I don’t know it as well as I might.  I can’t name each track and I don’t, in most cases, recognize what’s coming next when one track ends.

But you know what, I’ve only been listening to it for a few weeks now. That kind of intimate familiarity will come in time, assuming its finds its way into my play queue with regularity.

And yeah, I have a feeling that won’t be a problem.  Tron: Legacy by Daft Punk is a keeper.