Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Electric Relaxation: LCD Soundsystem "All My Friends"

The last 5 years I've always heard about LCD Soundsystem. I kinda lumped them with Arcade Fire and The Black Keys with other indie bands of the last decade that diehards loved but I had to work to get into. But since I took the plunge last summer with Radiohead, perhaps the biggest band I was afraid of getting into, I figured it was time to check them out.

It started with a simple tweet last fall asking folks for some LCD Soundsystem songs to check out. A buddy then sent me three of his favorites and the first song I clicked mesmerized me. A hard piano melody that was a confusing jangle. Then a soft, yet driving drum beat followed by a throbbing bass groove. "That's how it starts."

In almost 5 months, "All My Friends" has become one of my favorite songs of all time partly because it uses one of my favorite musical elements. The crescendo. That buildup of music that starts slow and grows as the song progresses. What started as a 1:20 instrumental intro gets louder as synthesizers get added to the hook around the 3:22 mark. The music just gets louder and more diverse as it envelopes you into the world that James Murphy sings about. It overpowers you while still sounding mellow. How amazing is that!

"I wouldn't trade one stupid decision for another five years of life." - that's a powerful line on its own and in the context of the song it's even better. It's about growing old, reflecting on the life you've lived and the person you chose to share it with. Regrets and no regrets which we can all relate to that, especially me.

First time I heard it, I started thinking about my life and looking back on my college days and the things I did, wished I did and things I wished I didn't do. I even had a music video idea of a couple starting out together, going on trips, having kids but also growing distant and wondering where the spark went.

Then Murphy kept repeating at the ending climax "Where are your friends tonight?" and "If I could see all my friends tonight." That's haunting yet powerful. He doesn't sing it with strength as much as he does ravaged emotion. Immediately I thought about friends I've lost touch with and how I wish things could be different. I even wrote a poem about it, which eventually I'll post to share that cool story.

It's one of those songs you play when you're leaving a late night out or on a long drive and in a reflective mood. Just a perfect song all around where Murphy bares his soul without sounding emo. I listened to the version of their live London Sessions album and loved it even more.

Little did I know that Murphy not only looked like an everyday dude on the street (which made his voice and vibe even more befuddling) but the musical genius of the band who plays everything in studio. Can't think of a frontman who looks that ordinary yet is able to produce some great music.

I have more to say on the band but I'll save that for a follow-up blog later tonight. Enjoy this song and thanks to my buddy Evan for introducing me to them.

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