“Instant Crush” by Daft Punk (ft. Julian Casablancas)

The primary addressee in Daft Punk’s “Instant Crush” is apparently a romantic interest of the narrator. The lyrics are very complex and have even been interpreted by some as alluding to suicide. However, a number of analysts have resolved that suicide isn’t the primary matter. According to these analysts, the main matter at hand involves the singer having missed out on the opportunity to be with someone he clearly cares for during his childhood, i.e. the selfsame addressee. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Daft Punk's Instant Crush at Lyrics.org.

Also based on that premise, we can hypothesize that the third-party “he” and “him” mentioned in the lyrics points to the guy she actually did eventually hook up with. In other words, all of the elaborate lyrics of “Instant Crush” are seemingly based on a story which, at its base, centers on the singer having had the opportunity to get with the addressee, not doing so and now being cheesed that someone else has.

Furthermore, as displayed in the bridge, his feeling of failure, so to speak, is exacerbated by a self-recognized characteristic akin to beating around the bush. Or stated differently, he seems to be afraid or apprehensive in terms of making a definitive move in regards to the addressee. 

And this would tie in with the aforementioned explanation of the singer being upset that he didn’t capitalize on a potential romance.

Lyrics of "Instant Crush"


Indeed at the end of the day, regardless of how one interprets the actual narrative at hand, it’s pretty clear based on the mood of the lyrics that the singer is discontent. Additionally it can be ascertained that he is not really interested in overthinking any aspect of his direct relationship with the addressee.

But that being noted, it is also obvious that she holds a special, perhaps one can say permanent place in his thoughts. So all matters considered, it honestly reads like he does and doesn’t want to be with her at the same time. He perpetually regrets missing the opportunity to be in a relationship with her. However, he simultaneously understands that if they did hookup it wouldn’t necessarily be ideal.

When did Daft Punk release “Instant Crush”?

This is the fourth single from Daft Punk’s quintessential album, 2013’s “Random Access Memories”. And the song was officially released on 22 November of that year. Both “Instant Crush” and its album are products of Columbia Records.

Daft Punk and Julian Casablancas

This is Daft Punk’s first collaboration with Julian Casablancas, a singer who at the time is better known as the frontman of The Strokes, a rock band from NYC. The two acts, Casablancas and Daft Punk, first met up in 2010. This was while the latter were putting together the soundtrack to the major motion picture “Tron: Legacy” (2010). 

And “Instant Crush” sprang from a round of coffee they all shared. More specifically, Daft Punk introduced Julian to an instrumental demo they had put together. Upon listening to it, the singer enthusiastically embraced the idea of “jump(ing) on it”. 

At the end of the day, Casablancas not only lent his voice to this tune but also served as co-writer and co-producer. He also played some backup guitars on the track too. 

The other co-producers of “Instant Crush” is Daft Punk (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel). The pair are also credited individually as co-writers.

Success of “Instant Crush”

This track was also a notable hit chart-wise, appearing on the top music listings in a dozen countries, performing especially well in Belgium.

This Daft Punk classic was a top-10 hit in the regions below:

  • Australia (7)
  • Belgium (5)
  • France (4)
  • Lebanon (10)
  • South Korea (8)

Moreover, it is by far one of Daft Punk’s most streamed songs on multiple platforms, including Spotify.

In 2013, a number of music publications voted this track one of the best songs of the year. One such publication was Rolling Stone magazine.

Music Video

The music video to this song drew its pop-culture inspiration from “The Twilight Zone”. It was also inspired by “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”, a 1838 fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875). 

It first aired on a French television network (with Daft Punk being from France) called BFM TV on 5 December 2013. 

Warren Fu directed the highly-creative clip, which is most-notable for featuring Casablancas portrayed “as a… wooden doll”.  And just to note, Fu also served a similar, co-directorial role on the official visual from another single from “Random Access Memories”, entitled “Lose Yourself to Dance”.

Random Access Memories

“Random Access Memories” was the last album Daft Punk dropped, at least during their first tenure together (presuming they’ll once again reunite). The pair somewhat unceremoniously disbanded the act in early-2021.

The aforementioned album received the support of the following singles:

  • “Give Life Back to Music”
  • “Instant Crush”
  • “Doin’ It Right”
  • “Lose Yourself to Dance”
  • Get Lucky

Natalie Imbruglia covers “Instant Crush”

Since Daft Punk officially released this song in 2013, it has been widely covered. One of the most successful covers was done by an Australian-British singer named Natalie Imbruglia. She released her version in 2015.

FYI, Natalie is best known for her 1993 hit song “Torn“.

2 Responses

  1. DarkRuby says:

    It sounds like the devil card in The Tarot to me… They have a spiritual connection, one not based in physical reality. He “chains himself to a friend” that keeps him away from her but whom also serves as a constant reminder that she is not with him. It keeps them separate and connected at the same time. The permanence of the “tragedy” serves as a poetic Justice in a way. They were not meant to be but they are karmic soulmates anyway. They can’t be alone together because one or both of them are in relationships with other people. And, possibly, need to be “chaperoned” as their passion for each other is not able to be discrete. If he was alone with her, his emotions would take over and “open the floodgates” as it were. Once you unlock that door… you cannot close it again.

  2. Some_Lover says:

    In my adolescence I went through a very confusing relationship, my ex was very much in love with me when we were still friends, but I had just gotten out of a relationship that had shaken my feelings a lot, so I kind of denied my feelings for her and ignored that she liked me, we even tried but it never worked, then we started to hate each other, we stopped talking but I always felt bad anyway, I still loved her I guess, in the end she ended up getting my best childhood friend until then, and during that time, i listened to instant crush almost every day when i went to school, sometimes holding back tears, i’m from brazil, my english was not good at the time because i was studying, but something in this song it comforted me a lot and I didn’t feel alone where I was, it’s been 3 years since this happened, but I got emotional when I saw this explanation, because the singer’s feeling is exactly the same as what I went through at that time, and it leaves me happy to know that the “me” of 3 years ago wasn’t alone in this somehow anyway.

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