Touch: An Insightful Track on “Random Access Memories”

0:00-1:28 Introduction

Touch. Touch, I remember touch.
Touch. Touch, I remember touch.
Where do I belong?
Touch, I need something more.
The beginning of the song starts with a slow and soft melody, it almost feels like a dream state or limbo. The lyrics are told to us, not sung, in a robotic voice with no emotion which adds to the dream-like state. It brings us to a fantasy unlike any of the other songs on the album so far, as if this is a transition from the first half of the album, which was all just a dream.

1:29-1:49 Transition
I remember touch, I need something more in my mind.
The track starts to pick up. The melody builds the whole time and drops into a completely different melody, symbolizing a change in the level of the dream.

1:50-2:30 Spoken Word with Soft Melody
Touch, I remember touch.
Pictures came with touch.
A painter in my mind, tell me what you see.
A tourist in a dream, a visitor it seems.
A half forgotten song, where do I belong?
Tell me what you see, I need something more.
We hear the protagonist (Paul Williams) of the song after traveling through the dream. He sings the lines and puts real human emotion into it. He’s able to say what he wants to say because he isn’t dreaming anymore, he’s in a safe place. The lyrics reminisce about a touch/emotion from the past he used to feel and is trying desperately to remember it, that’s why he is searching through his dreams. He invites a ‘painter’ to enter his dreams to preserve the image he can hardly remember. The music drops to a slow, synthetic piano riff showing we are now out of the dream but also looking back at it in a conscious state.

2:31-3:20 Voice/Melody/Symbols
Kiss, suddenly alive, happiness arrived, hunger like a storm, how do I begin.
A room within a room, a door behind a door, touch where do you lead, I need something more.
Tell me what you see, I need something more.
We drop from the melancholy of the previous part into a more upbeat pace and optimistic feeling. He sings with greater emotion because something great has happened, he remembered a kiss. He is instantly happier after remembering this kiss and wants nothing but to remember more memories like this. Doors and rooms are hiding his memories so he employs the painter to come back to show him more. This is the first strong turning point of the song because we start to see the brilliance behind the musical transition from melancholy to optimism.

3:21-4:12 Touch
I like to think of this part of the song as the soundtrack to the previous touch/memory he has now found. We hear a glimpse of the immense happiness he feels towards this one touch/emotion and gives us his reasoning behind why he wants to remember it. Just sit back, listen and enjoy.

4:13-5:30 Chorus
Hold on, if love is the answer you’re home. (x8)
This part is the early climax to the previous peak of the song where he remembers the memory. The music drops into a very beautiful melody while repeating the same auto-tuned line with a progressively louder background chorus, sounding more angelic with each bar. The music turns from the catchy neo-jazz/pop melody to a simple drum and bass combo, which gives us a deep and personal feeling like a ballad. The transition that occurs from the previous part to this one is as if he falls back into a nostalgic dream state. This part of the song shows how he remembers the touch/memory when in the dream-state, which is why the music is slower but more beautiful and why the voice is auto-tuned again. The voice is telling him the answer he’s been searching for all along, “Where do I belong, tell me something more?” He needs to hold on and stay put, “Hold on, if love is the answer you’re home.” If love is the thing you are searching for in these dreams, you don’t need to do that. You know exactly who you love in life and no amount of dream or thought searching can tell you otherwise. If love is what you feel about something, go for it with no humility and your head held high, that is how we process touch. Far too many times, people who don’t know if they’re in love with somebody will search for clues to tell them otherwise, but they aren’t looking what they have right in front of them. If you feel the love, hold on because you’re home.
This part of the song isn’t just the shift in the track, but rather the entire album. Daft Punk builds musical greatness from one song to the next in the first half of the album, and then they unload all they can into the second half and more specifically the first song of the second half of the album which is known as Get Lucky. Did you wonder why it was so damn catchy?

5:31-5:48 Transition
This is another transition from the dream state to reality. We go from the voice in his mind/dreams to more singing and therefore consciousness. This happens to everyone when they fall asleep and dream about something amazing, but wake up halfway through. Our sub-conscious will project a false reality to show us a situation, and once we prepare for the situation, the sub-consciousness wakes us up and doesn’t show us the whole dream. Why? Because the sub-conscious wants to see how we would react and prepare for situations, rather than following through with them. That’s the part of the song we are in. He hears whats he’s been searching for and goes into an angelic limbo, but before it climaxes, he wakes up and processes what just happened.

5:49-7:41 Chorus 2
Hold on, if love is the answer you’re home. (x8)
This is the final moment in the song where it all comes to an end. After waking up and transitioning dream-states, he falls back into the original dream and slowly begins to remember what the voice was telling him. There are two reasons for why he falls back into the dream, giving this two minutes piece of beautiful melodies. The first is reassurance of what the voice is telling him, which in turn reinforces his true feelings. The second is to go back and give the audience a full song and dance where every part of the song comes together one last time. We hear the drum and bass, the catchy up-beat memory, and the dream-state all in one. This is meant to close out the song, the finale essentially.

7:42-8:17 Outro
Touch, sweet touch, you’ve given me too much to feel.
Sweet touch, you’ve almost convinced me I’m real.
I need something more, I need something, more.
This outro that happens after the finale gives us insight towards the band and album. It’s just Paul Williams singing one last time with a nostalgic tone, almost like he is glad he remembered the touch/dream, but also still sad about it. Why after that whole grande ensemble would he feel sad still? The touch has given him too much and caused some distress. The sweet touch Daft Punk refers to may actually have two meanings, not just a memory, but also a command on the computer which creates an empty folder ready for data to be put into. Daft Punk is a robot/computer, not a person. Touch simply doesn’t make a human real, if so, robots would be real. The last line of the song gives us everything we need to know now. Daft Punk’s album stands for RAM (random-access memory) which stores data, but in Daft Punk’s case, refers to the random assortment of memories from a robot. Robots can only touch, that’s the only sense given to them from the five humans have. The sense of touch teases the robot with something it could never be, a human: “I need something more, I need something….more.”

Edited: 10 July 2015

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