Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Album: Discovery (2001)
Charted: 25

Songfacts®:

  • Much of the Discovery album is rooted in the '70s, but with a synth-pop beat and electronic vocals. On this track, Daft Punk sample the 1979 song "Cola Bottle Baby" by Edwin Birdsong. They also appropriate a famous line from the '70s TV show The Six Million Dollar Man, which states in the intro, "We can rebuild him... better, stronger, faster."
  • Kanye West sampled this for his 2007 song "Stronger." West paid homage to Daft Punk by including their characters (they dress in robotic costumes) in the video for his song, and having the duo perform with him at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
  • The music video features Japanese animation and was directed by Kazuhisa Takenouchi. It was later used as part of the movie Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, which is a Japanese film based on the Discovery album. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Donovan Berry - El Dorado, AR, for above 3
  • In 2007, a clever YouTube video surfaced called "Daft Hands," which shows a set of hands rendering the lyrics to this song. This led to many variations, including the inevitable "Daft Bodies."
  • "Harder Better Faster Stronger" is, for the most part, a very typical Daft Punk track: a four-to-the-floor beat; funky-style guitars and bass sample (Edwin Birdsong's Cola Bottle Baby); and the common heavily processed vocals. The first half is clearly in a House style, unsurprising for the duo, yet the whole track is arranged in an overall ABC structure, which is unusual in EDM (it's normally ABAB). The C section is particularly interesting in its sudden change to a half-time rhythm, turning to a more Hip-Hop/R'n'B style, drawing on on influences from urban American music instrumentally. This is unexpected due to the tendency of EDM to reach a breakdown section (heard here at 2:02) before climaxing for a second time with a variation of the original theme. Instead, however, the violation of this expectancy by the half-time change and refusal to return to the main theme takes Harder Better Faster Stronger away from being a straight-up EDM track.

    The solo featured in the 2nd and 3rd sections using the vocal sample (possibly achieved by loading the vocal clips into a sampler and improvising using a synthesizer) also links strongly to the Jazz tradition, again an urban American music style originally.
  • The vocals could be argued to draw similarities to Radiohead's "Fitter Happier" in both their computerized sound and their lyrical content. However, while Daft Punk's vocals are set to a positive, upbeat, melodic backing, Radiohead's lack any sort of melody and continue on a series of melancholic metaphors for the comfortable yet passionless existence of humans in modern, technologically-aided society. While these two could be coincidental, the fact that Radiohead's version came four years before Daft Punk's could suggest an influence on the duo and potentially an alternative meaning to "Harder Better Faster Stronger."

Comments: 5

  • Jacob from Manson, IaThe song was also referenced in Fallout: New Vegas. It is an unmarked quest that allows you to get implants. the name is simply, "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"
  • Stella from Beverly Hills, CaI honestly love every single song I've listened to by them. Great musicians, great techno!
  • Rebekah from West Palm Beach, FlThe Discovery CD has always been fun to listen to. If anyone has seen Interstella 5555, they know what I mean. The whole CD was made into a little story about alien superstars unwillingly taken from their home and forced to play music, via mind control, until they get exhausted and can't function anymore. A hero, the bass player's secret lover, comes to rescue them and, in the process, dies. The band is saved and they ruin their manager's plot to take over the Universe through Golden Disk Award plates. The humans eventually discover that the group are actually aliens, which comes as a surprise, and return them home with their memories, where they celebrate the hero's chivalry... That's basically it.
  • Logan from Anniston, AlMy Favorate Daft Punk Song Right in front of "around the World" both Great songs.
    Daft Punk is Sooo Creative
  • Maksim from Murmansk, --One of the best of their songs!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Annie Haslam of Renaissance

Annie Haslam of RenaissanceSongwriter Interviews

The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al YankovicFact or Fiction

Did Al play on a Beach Boys record? Did he have beef with George Lucas and Coolio? See if you can spot weird but true stories.

Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New York

Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New YorkSong Writing

Can you be married in one country but not another? Only if you're part of a gay couple. One of the first famous singers to come out as a lesbian, Janis wrote a song about it.

Charlie Daniels

Charlie DanielsSongwriter Interviews

Charlie discusses the songs that made him a Southern Rock icon, and settles the Devil vs. Johnny argument once and for all.

Billy Gould of Faith No More

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.

Songs Discussed in Movies

Songs Discussed in MoviesSong Writing

Bridesmaids, Reservoir Dogs, Willy Wonka - just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.