The boldness of this claim is up for interpretation, but that’s all that can be questioned: LCD Soundsystem has made some of the most important music of this decade.
“Losing My Edge” is one of the least aggrandizing grand entrances in music. LCD Soundsystem became a voice of the generation by stating that their voice and generation were no longer relevant. By taking away the need to be taken seriously, James Murphy—the guy at the head of it all, the one proving the best way to be cool is to not be bothered with being cool—freed himself to be as serious as deemed necessary while maintaining the license to make music that is undeniably fun.
And then, five years later, Murphy wrote and recorded a great American novel that runs less than eight minutes and called it “All My Friends.” On the foundation of a repeating piano, drum, bass, and guitar lines, Murphy finds what is lost as one drifts along until the sudden realization that the best years may have already passed by.
Now, what to say about “Dance Yrself Clean,” the opening track of This Is Happening? The hollow drums, distant vocals, and patient bass notes are disorientating—“This was supposed to be a dance record, right?” Just when you think you have a hold of the song, it explodes into your eardrums and spreads immediately throughout your entire body, setting it dancing to a beat that never seems to change yet never settles into stagnation.
Honestly, these three tracks are enough for me. They are the benchmarks of not just this band, or this kind of music, but of this time and place. They will stand as the landmarks future generations will visit when they explore the music of the 2000s. They will act as touchstones for thousands—“’Losing My Edge’ introduced me to electronic music”; “’All My Friends’ transported me home as I traveled across seas”; “’Dance Yrself Clean’ is summer 2010, and every time I hear it I feel 24 again.”
LCD Soundsystem does not end with these three tracks, of course. James Murphy has penned lyrics that span distances greater than the words covered and has recorded melodies that live past their designated track times. These records grab some immediately, while others need to exercise some perseverance to find their brilliance. Regardless, consider yourself lucky to be at the Metro show tonight. Missed that? Check them Saturday at Pitchfork Music Festival.
Key tracks not previously mentioned: “Home,” “North American Scum,” “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House.” And there are many, many more.