I spent all Friday afternoon cranking LCD Soundsystem on my headphones at work, and as the beats slowly leaked out of my headphones into the office I thought about the fact that this band would be playing its final show the very next night.
And they did. And now it’s Sunday night, a day later, and the band is officially no more. I wish I had more intuition about this brilliant musician to be able to do a more complete analysis of his career and musical trajectory. If you’re looking for that, head over to Pitchfork; those guys put together a fantastic review of everything James Murphy ever did. And if you want to hear Murphy do a guest DJ spot at NPR, listen to that here.
But if you want to hear one blogger’s final tribute to a band he recently discovered he loved, then you’re in the right place. In a musical world that prides itself on the cool and the ironic, Mr. Murphy couldn’t give a shit. He lived in Brooklyn before it was cool. He did everything that you weren’t supposed to do as a musician, and he was both loved by his fans, and incredibly successful.
He burst out onto the scene by telling anyone who would listen that he was losing his edge: “I’m losing my edge to borrowed nostalgia to the unremembered 80s.” Lyrics that were both poignantly true and absurdly hilarious (losing your edge to the internet?) marked his first single. He mocked everyone (those selling turntables for guitars and vice versa) in his classic monotone as a barrage of sounds exploded behind him. And by the time the 7 minutes and 53 seconds had come to a close, you weren’t sure just what you had listened to.
And all of his songs were like that. They were all different; not just from each other but from what everyone else was doing. He was able to love certain things unabashedly and not ironically. He put his heart and soul into his music for his entire career, and certainly for the ten years that he wrote and performed with LCD Soundsystem. And while we’re sad to see him go, his dedication to the music and its originality is worthy of all of our envy; he believed that his music would turn stale after that time, so promised to throw in the towel to prevent that. That kind of dedication to the originality of one’s music, and the self-awareness it takes to realize that is awe-inspiring.
He closed out his career last night, April 2, 2011, with a show at Madison Square Garden that was just under four hours. By the accounts of the lucky souls in attendance, it was unbelievable. So if you’re a longtime fan, an LCD-virgin, or anything in between, check out the show below, as well as the half dozen tracks I felt were important for your consumption. Enjoy!
LCD Soundsystem – Losing My Edge
LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends
LCD Soundsystem – New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down
LCD Soundsystem – Yr City’s A Sucker
LCD Soundsystem – Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
LCD Soundsystem – Dance Yourself Clean