The Crimson White

Music Column: You don’t know LCD Soundsystem until it’s right in front of your face

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Katie Huff

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Here marks the beginning of another consistent trite Brooklyn-indie-rock music scene saga. This results in an end of close examination of LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy and the band’s fans. This brief synopsis seems largely necessary. Most may roll their eyes and scoff, at the somewhat expected selfish stance on the band that always seems to notice its age.

On July 4, I spent a chunk of my afternoon at Freehold in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, or a Mac Demarco look-alike gathering depending on who you ask. After fully basking in the hipster glory and consuming the ever-American hot dog, I took the L train to Bushwick, Brooklyn, known for its grungier take on Mac Demarco. With pringles and a six-pack of Brooklyn Lager in tow, I climbed out of a window, up a fire escape, much to the dismay of other celebrators, and watched firework shows from four directions, including Manhattan. 

Don’t worry, the story is almost over. 

Following the conclusion of the fireworks and the completion of the six-pack, I rode the L train back to Manhattan, as I was expected at work the next day. This seems slightly unfair after my surreal evening. After transitioning to the 1 and getting off at the 86th Street station, I listened to “All My Friends” and danced myself clean as I walked the few blocks back to my apartment. 

During this time, I swiped my Metrocard through the turnstile four times. I was audibly accepted into various metro stations, but indifferently heard the sounds. James Murphy, on the other hand, has paid attention to this sound for over 25 years. 

In 2015, Murphy, partnering with Heineken, approached the MTA with his grievances, and an answer: Tired of hearing the off-tune beeps currently being employed, Murphy composed Subway Symphony, musical notes that are unique to each station, creating a symphony as riders swipe their cards. 

In an interview with The Guardian, Murphy explained the merit of this idea in action, “If rush hour, when it’s the most busy, can actually wind up having the most musical complexity; it would be almost the most beautiful time. It feels like a nice gift that can be given to riders for their patronage.”

Murphy’s obligations to address this sound and to create a change for a more sonically-pleasing subway experience are perfectly representative of LCD Soundsystem. Murphy’s nit-picking approach to songwriting and production is incontestable in every album and performance. This loyalty to perfection, which it is, or precision, is the most apparent at live performances. 

LCD Soundsystem provides exactly what its audience is asking for: an opportunity to dance themselves clean. While this sounds unquestionably obvious and like the coldest take of recent times, there is truly nothing similar to banging your head to LCD Soundsystem. 

There’s something therapeutic about being in a room with a huge group of people that will wholly, and vehemently sing “Ah-Ahh” with their voices and thrashing bodies during “Dance Yrself Clean,” which I experienced myself in Atlanta two days ago. There’s nothing more representative of Murphy’s genius than seeing him walk around each band member, nodding his head with his hands sporadically dancing in the spotlight. 

LCD Soundsystem is undeniably in tune with the innumerable aspects of every performance and each other throughout their incomparably designed setlists. The discoball only helps to remind the audience that dancing is the most appreciated form of approval.  

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Music Column: You don’t know LCD Soundsystem until it’s right in front of your face