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“Instant Crush” is a song by French electronic music duo Daft Punk. It was released as the fourth single from their fourth studio album, Random Access Memories (2013), on 22 November 2013. It features vocals from American musician Julian Casablancas, who co-wrote the song with Daft Punk members Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. It was number 58 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Best Songs of 2013 list.
While working on the Tron: Legacy soundtrack in 2010, Daft Punk met with Casablancas in their studio through a mutual friend. The duo, who are fans of Casablancas’ band The Strokes, presented him with an instrumental demo track intended for use on Daft Punk’s next album. Casablancas responded favorably to the demo upon listening to it and subsequently agreed to provide accompanying vocals, forming the basis for what would become “Instant Crush”.
Regarding the lyrics, Casablancas recalled that Daft Punk approached him with “the whole story” of what the duo wanted to achieve. At one point he wondered whether the song should be called “Summer Crush” based on how Daft Punk described the idea. The concept involved reflecting on the childhood memory of meeting a girl, but missing the opportunity to be with her. Casablancas initially based his lyrics on this story in conjunction with writing provided by Paul Williams, but felt that the result was “flat”. Casablancas discarded the lines in favor of ones that he spontaneously sang to fit the structure of “Instant Crush”, and expressed that doing so conveyed Daft Punk’s concept better.
The song as it appears on the album was co-produced and sung by Casablancas, who also performed lead guitar. Daft Punk played additional guitar on “Instant Crush” as well as keyboards and synthesizers. Nathan East performed on bass guitar while John “JR” Robinson played drums and Quinn provided percussion. Critic John Balfe considered the song “appropriately Strokes-ish, even if [Casablancas’] trademark drawl is fed quite substantially through a vocoder. “De Homem-Christo noted, “It is true that it is not his usual register, it is the way Julian reacted to the track so for us it is even more exciting.”