Instant Crush

"Instant Crush" is a song written, produced, and performed by French electronic music duo Daft Punk and American musician Julian Casablancas. It was released as the fourth single from Daft Punk's fourth studio album, Random Access Memories (2013), on 22 November 2013. 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."

Music video

Warren Fu directed the music video for "Instant Crush" with production by Daft Arts. He was previously responsible for the album artwork of Random Access Memories, and co-directed the video for "Lose Yourself to Dance". Tony Gardner and Alterian, Inc. designed character effects for "Instant Crush" and created statues from wax and fiberglass. Gardner previously directed Daft Punk's music video for "The Prime Time of Your Life" and was involved in the feature film Daft Punk's Electroma as well as the Alive 2006/2007 tour. Clips from the "Instant Crush" video were released exclusively on French news channel BFM TV on December 5, 2013. The full music video was released on Vevo the following day. The music video was shot on 35mm film in a 4:3 aspect ratio and was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" as well as The Twilight Zone television series.

It involves the love story of two wax figures on display at an exhibition hall: a French soldier who bears a resemblance to Casablancas, and a female peasant on display across him. The video is interspersed with shots of Casablancas singing. The male figure is later taken away from the female one and put into a storage in the basement. Later, a fire starts, causing the floor to collapse, the female figure falling into the basement where she reunites with the male one. There, they fall over beside each other and hold hands as they melt. The video features a brief appearance of the Daft Punk robot helmets in a shelf, which were originally engineered by Gardner and Alterian.

Track listing

;CD promo #"Instant Crush" (radio edit) – 3:30 #"Instant Crush" (album version) – 5:38

Commercial performance

"Instant Crush" debuted at numbers 29 and 37 on the singles charts of France and Sweden respectively following the release of Random Access Memories, spending sixteen weeks on the former chart. It also entered at number 198 on the UK Singles Chart and at number 16 on the United States Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.

Weekly charts

Year-end charts

Release history

On 20 November 2013, Sony Music announced that "Instant Crush" would be released as the next single from Random Access Memories, serving as the fourth overall single from the album. It was distributed to radio stations in Italy two days following the announcement, and it was also released in Poland the same week.

Natalie Imbruglia version

In 2015, Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia covered the song for her fifth studio album Male. The song was chosen as the lead single and was released in March 2015. Imbruglia's version was recorded in New York with Billy Mann.

A 1950s style music video was shot in London on 10 March 2015 by director Joe Stephenson.


Release history