For my money there’s no band closer to the profound Talking Heads than the James Murphy led LCD Soundsystem. Breaking onto the scene in 2005, the climate was ripe for change. With the help of Nancy Whang and the incomparable Pat Mahoney, among others, LCD was able to grow into something that had been just a solitary man making music, with no intent on touring. Since reuniting in 2016, the gang is back proving to many uninitiated how fun, important, and danceable they are. Here’s the top ten list for your reading pleasure. Check out @thedeathofthemixtape on instagram and facebook for more, as well as the top ten leading this article.
10 HOW DO YOU SLEEP: AMERICAN DREAM
The opening is very electronically mastered, with the drum beat pulsating like a woman seductively dancing in a dive bar, with not a care in the world. It’s tribal in its delivery, but Murphy’s voice creeping through the darkness fit right in in the esoteric nature of the song. The strings in the background also help to make it noticeably more dark and sinister than the majority of the other tracks on the album. Over the course of the nine minute plus track, the elements all blend together and grow in fervor. If ever there was an LCD song that fit hand in hand with a late night bonfire in the wilderness, with only the red hot light to help your view, it’s this one. In short, they still have the ability to awe the listener, and motivate them to keep going.
9 I CAN CHANGE: THIS IS HAPPENING
One of the most uplifting songs on the countdown also happens to fall near the bottom, which is still better than 95% of other music around today. The way Murphy’s voice croons through disco balls, and in that moment you’re in a little club brightened by electronic pulses and shimmers in the dark air. It’s one of the easiest songs to move to on this album, and makes it a little more sentimental. The lyrics also take a brilliant but dark path towards the end, which depicts yet again the romantic tendencies in this band. Really pretty, but also really honest when it needs to be.
8 GET INNOCUOUS: SOUND OF SILVER
The first time this enters your ears, you realize everything is right with the world and this band will almost certainly deliver on another masterstroke of an album. Again with the upward build, number eight on the Top Ten LCD Soundsystem songs, has the added advantage of a boom of a voice at the top of the elevation. It always reminded me of a man serenading you at the climax of an escalator, except with weird visuals all over the place. Seeing this live was simply wonderful, and the intensity of the energy of that crowd made it all the more of a moment to be at peace with everything.
7 MOVEMENT: LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
The first time this enters your ears, you realize everything is right with the world and this band will almost certainly deliver on another masterstroke of an album. Again with the upward build, number five on the Top Ten LCD Soundsystem songs, has the added advantage of a boom of a voice at the top of the elevation. It always reminded me of a man serenading you at the climax of an escalator, except with weird visuals all over the place. Seeing this live not two weeks ago was simply wonderful, and the intensity of the energy of that crowd made it all the more of a moment to be at peace with everything.
6 CALL THE POLICE: AMERICAN DREAM
This track has everything a fan of the band would, and has come to love. It’s lyrically strong, and the music seems destined to be used in a film where people are endlessly trying to find their place in the world. It’s also seems like a fuck you to all the people who have second-guessed the band throughout their career. It’s triumphant in a way that only LCD Soundsystem seems capable of, when it comes to this type of eye opening honesty.
5 HOME: THIS IS HAPPENING
Last songs on records aren’t as easy as you might think. The great last song either crescendos up to glorious highs, or descends to somber lows that quietly take over a space (“New York I Love You…”). Of those two, ‘Home’ is the first type mentioned (We’ll get to the other kind in a bit..). Again the use of building is used to gorgeous effect, the song coming at you like a circus themed dance club in the middle of Autumn. It eases into things, slowly adding to the rhythm and beat overall. LCD is essentially at this point an electronic, dance oriented version of Tool. Long, big songs, consistently adding or changing aspects as well as expectations. They also happen to be brilliant.
4 NEW YORK I LOVE YOU, BUT YOU'RE BRINGING ME DOWN: SOUND OF SILVER
And here’s the depressing last song. Truth be told, I felt brought down by my former city of choice, New Orleans, more than once. Maybe that’s the curse of living in the same place you were born. In the number four selection, Murphy sits mostly solo and taps away on the piano a tale of love, but also of honesty, and anger in how the city makes you forget everything good, and envelopes itself around you, unable to get those choices back. Murphy doesn’t often try to hit high notes when he’s as naked as he is now, but for this track it works better, way better than expected, and with that the last track of Sound of Silver wraps up and we proceed to number two...
3 DAFT PUNK IS PLAYING MY HOUSE: LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
In your face from moment one, ‘Daft Punk is Playing at my House,’ manages to be everything you need to know from LCD and Daft Punk. It manages to sound like both bands without much effort or hackery. It has that DP beat to it, and even though it’s not electronically oriented to a high degree, it feels like something the Robots would produce, or at least play at random moments. I also have to say I can’t think of any band saluting someone else on a track so obviously. Wouldn’t you be nervous if you knew your favorite didn’t like the song you made to profess your love?
2 DANCE YRSELF CLEAN: THIS IS HAPPENING
Like I said earlier, slow building tracks are sort of a thing for Murphy, Whang and Mahoney, along with all the other eclectic members of the band. For nearly two minutes the song gradually tops itself, although never in an over the top fashion. By the time the drums ramp in and the belting vocals start peaking out, the song is transformed to a dance club masterpiece. It’s not only the second best song from the band, it starts off this incredible album with a slow burning bang that proceeds to set the pace for a wonderful evening listening to jams from NYC, the only place that could invent that sound.
1 ALL MY FRIENDS: SOUND OF SILVER
Very rarely in life, you find a top 10 all time song. “All My Friends,” the number one LCD Soundsystem song, gets all the way to my top five favorite all time songs. There’s something so carefree, resilient, and thought provoking that makes it all work so well. The build and gradual nature of the song do miracles. They instinctively come together in a cordial weave of spontaneity, the way yawn eventually makes something warm and welcoming. I’ve listened to this song more times than I could ever count, but it never gets old, not even for a second. It’s a gift to us all, and I'm thrilled to have it in my life. The ability of the song to work in real time emotion, amid the frustrations of things said wrongly and reprehensible actions we all commit during our lower moments, makes this song as much about being rich in spirit as it is about learning not to spend too much thinking about the huge picture of your life. Enjoy the moments,and embrace the moment where you get to see all of your friends tonight.
Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
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