Daft Punk: Broken Up, But Eternally Influential

I woke up on February 22 fully expecting another routine day in quarantine. Just another day in what is starting to feel like a simulation. But Daft Punk had other plans. Headline after headline emerged, all announcing the duo’s breakup after 28 iconic years. Almost every major news outlet, music-focused or not, had an announcement about it.

News headlines highlighting Daft Punk's split.
News headlines highlighting Daft Punk's split.

Initially, I thought it wasn’t real, that they would say it was a joke and announce some kind of return to the dance world. Especially since rumors were going around suggesting they would be performing at the Super Bowl halftime show. The Super Bowl rumor was false – but a broken-up Daft Punk is entirely real.

The video they released is what really made it sink in. It’s literally titled ‘Epilogue’, making this breakup unambiguous and hard to dispute.

The eight minute video features Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo in the desert wearing their signature helmets. They both wordlessly remove their jackets before exploding into nothingness. It’s a goodbye so clear, it leaves no other option but to accept it.

A World Without Daft Punk?

The duo lasted 28 years. That’s longer than I’ve been on earth. Until now, I didn’t exist in a world without Daft Punk. And it feels really strange, because they’ve been so deeply important and impactful to me.

I first discovered Daft Punk in my early teens. Just as it was for many others, this was a tumultuous period of life, and music kept me grounded. I heard ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ by chance, and the rest is history. These two robot-headed legends were my first true introduction to electronic music, a genre that I’ve grown to love because of them.

They sparked my interest in dance music, and they set the stage for lasting connections in my life, too. My longest friendship, one that is still strong today, started with a shared interest in Daft Punk. We met in middle school, and instantly bonded over ‘Around the World’. We’d go home, download tracks off Frostwire, and discuss our favorites. We went to see Tron solely for the soundtrack.

While this is my own personal experience detailing how I’ve been impacted by their music, I’m definitely not alone. Many in the dance community and beyond took to social media to share similar sentiments and core memories.

We might now live in a world where Daft Punk is broken up, but it won’t ever be a world without them because of how incredibly influential their work is, even decades later. Their unparalleled sound and style shaped so many of us.

I’m beyond grateful to have stumbled across ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ all those years ago. I’ll always be sad that I never got to see them live, but I’ll forever be thankful for their work, because it helped me evolve into who I am today.