Playing God
LCD Soundsystem: LCD Soundsystem

as it stands, LCD Soundsystem is probably the most depressing “great” album I can fathom this side of Ice Cube’s Death Certificate. Probably the worst thing you can do without being a lyrical sexist, racist, homophobe, or child molester is try to get genius points through meta. It’s really the next rung down if you think about it, and James Murphy is ‘bout it ‘bout it. LCD Soundsystem’s work as compiled onto one full-length and a bonus disc of singles adds up to “music is worthless, devoid of ideas and I'm the first guy to figure it out.” 1999 has passed but the world didn't end (well, haha, WE didn’t die, at least not yet) so we might as well keep partying. A little bit of ironic self-loathing helps the nihilists get DOWN! And when we need to slow things down a bit we’ll do note-for-note re-enactments of the few types of hipster music that don’t feel completely tapped of resonance (the Fall, Eno...Floyd?). Not that we'll actually push it further, we’ll just create forgotten b-sides focused more on sonic simulacrum than emotional content. What an asshole.

It didn’t have to be this way, though.

01. Yeah (Crass Version)
It’s not that Murphy ain’t allowed to ask the big questions. Actually, his questions are pretty small compared to the non-biz issues brought up by PiL, Pere Ubu, the Raincoats, and any other first wave post-punker worth their weight in record guides. But most of those guys and gals couldn’t play for shit and we got machines that do that for us now so let’s not deny J. Murph (OMG tell me his middle name is Louis) the best of his boogies. Besides, by putting the “nothing going on” anthem at the top of the album we set up the possibility that he’ll be rectifying the situation further on.

02. Tribulations
This might be my favorite track the band’s recorded to date (like a crank like Murphy will ever figure out something new to say), because it acknowledges the reason dance clubs exist in the first place: SEX. 7-inches, pink pressing. James may not say more with his teasing pauses and “ow, aaah-owww”s here than anywhere else on the album and I’m not really sure what he’s getting at on the chorus, but for once it doesn’t matter. For once we get distorted keyb octave hops, surf guitar, and drum machine clatter for the sheer hell of it. Happy Mondays on happier pills.

03. Beat Connection
Extended intro reaffirms groove over meaning (no thanks necessary, I’m doing it for me), but—and here’s why these guys get more press than your average lovers of percussion—James drops some Iggy-via-MES my-my’s and a-boo-hoo’s atop the boom shackalacka, appeasing songform nuts and folks who need to be reminded why they’re dancing in the first place.

04. Yr City’s A Sucker (Full Version)
DJs can mix off into the wilderness after that beat, but we’re dealing with an ALBUM here, one that will most likely be heard by those with their ass relatively near the bar if not firmly seated, so we do need to tone it down a bit. Heads can still bop, the loaded can sway, and the rest of us can chat with pals online and off while we grok the lightweight Fall-age. What d’ya think Mark E. makes of this stuff anyway? Some dude slamming the most sellable elements of Perverted By Language and The Infotainment Scan together in exchange for a bevy of critcream? Think he’s shocked that hipster America STILL can’t do better than his simplified seconds or just nods and sez “figures”? I’m betting on the latter, though I wonder what future used-car salesmen will do for an aesthetic ten years after the dude croaks.

05. Losing My Edge
Slower, slower, stop. ….whirr…ROUND TWO! It’s not that music sucks, it’s your lack of edge, buddy. Or maybe your need to keep it. What’s an “edge” anyhow? It’s the fans that need a headcheck. The shitty little crits with their untapped collections, endless ephemera and desperation for cred that’s always a few downloads from reach. They’re the ones that need to be taken behind the barn. The kids who are excited about music, making music? They’re actually…really nice! YOU, well, you don’t know what you really want, you’re a case of the HAW-HAW-HAW-HAW. Your record collection is better than mine and Nobody Cares. Nobody worth impressing. Besides, who wants to be the first on their block to know what’s worth being depressed about? You don’t know what you really want.

06. Too Much Love
Let’s just drive the knife in a little deeper.

07. Disco Infiltrator
And now it’s time to dance on the graves of those who gave up the ghost, cuz we still want it…OWW!!!! Music ain’t dead and if it is, well, the zombies are shimmyin’ up a “Thriller.” It all seems pointless, a necrophiliac’s shuck, but our little brain receptors still go giggly for handclaps and sass, so woot woot, shake your waist-uh, chase that keyboard bloop while James thrusts his hips like no hefty man should, turns a crabby Mancunian’s vocal quirk into sonic gold, and it’s all good all over again.

08. Give It Up
To reiterate: whee!!! I say, lay back and enjoy it! It's a hell of a toboggan ride.

09. Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
Cuz really, if you can’t figure out an alternative to offer, you might as well celebrate what you got. And I don’t think anybody could pretend Murphy can’t set the party off. This ain’t about beats on repeat beating on him. This ain’t about a discipline that lacks a discipline, cuz HE don’t have the discipline. It’s about a nation of millions who need to stop holding themselves back, and its gonna take a DAMN good beat to pull it off. Dr. James Murphy, heal thyself, and if you can’t help but whine about music while making your music, then you might as well teach the next kid how to set ‘em up and never ever let them go. They might have more on their mind than sonics & your fading youth.

By: Anthony Miccio
Published on: 2005-04-11
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