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Music / LCD Soundsystem

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"and it keeps coming, till the day it stops..."
LCD Soundsystem is an NYC-based sort of Dance-Punk band thing that is the project of James Murphy, who plays most, if not all instruments on the records. For the sake of the sanity of this article, the project will be referred to as a band so the word "they" will be used.

They got their start in 2002 when Murphy released a handful of singles that got decent radio airplay on underground stations. After these successes he got a few musicians to collaborate with him, wrote a Self-Titled Album and LCD Soundsystem was born. Then, in 2007 Sound of Silver was released to critical acclaim, appearing on many year-end and decade-end album charts. Then finally Murphy announced a possible end to the project, with a "final" album titled This Is Happening being released. Once again, the critics drooled and the album found itself on more lists. Their Out with a Bang final concert, which among other extravagances had the highly influential 80's Post-Punk band Liquid Liquid as an opening act and the Arcade Fire singing backup vocals, proved to everyone that James Murphy was actually ending the project (at least, for the foreseeable future).


Their music is part of the movement in indie music known as "Dance-Punk". However, they are probably one of the bands that come closer to the "dance" side of that subgenre than with the "punk" aspect. Strangely, despite Murphy's vocals lacking the snarl of the other artists in the subgenre, it still works and qualifies.

Murphy writes ninety percent of the music himself but normally brings in "guest" musicians to play everything out during recording. Every now and then he records on his own as well, pulling off an I Am the Band image. He's seen on stage with his fellow colleagues as well as by himself with just his synthesizer, so whether or not those other people are considered "part of the band" still sparks debate between fans.

The band is known for Murphy's distinctive voice as well as the clever wordplay involved in their lyrics ("Drunk girls know that love is an astronaut / It comes back but it's never the same," for example).


LCD Soundsystem's best-known songs are "All My Friends", "Losing My Edge", "North American Scum", "Drunk Girls", "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down", and "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House".

At the tail end of 2015, LCD Soundsystem suddenly released a Christmas song, "Christmas Will Break Your Heart" to the delighted surprise of the fanbase. Before we knew it, LCD Soundsystem was announced as a headliner for Coachella 2016, with a tour and a new record, American Dream, released in 2017. James Murphy went into more detail in this blog entry.

Studio Albums:

  • LCD Soundsystem (2005)
  • Sound of Silver (2007)
  • This Is Happening (2010)
  • American Dream (2017)

EPs, Live Albums, and Remix Albums

  • Introns (Remix album, 2006)
  • 45:33 EP (2006)
  • A Bunch of Stuff (Remix EP, 2007)
  • Confuse the Marketplace EP (2007)
  • 45:33 Remixes (Remix album, 2009)
  • The London Sessions (Live album, 2010)
  • The Long Goodbye (Live album, 2014)
  • Electric Lady Sessions (Live album, 2019)

These following tropes are losing their edge:

  • Album Title Drop: "Sound of silver, talk to me" in the title track to Sound of Silver.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees:
    • Fact Magazine ("Pow Pow") exists and is not just an ironic figure to state obvious facts.
    • Despite all the outlandish claims in "Losing My Edge", one is actually true: James Murphy really was one of the first New York DJs to play Daft Punk in his sets at rock clubs like CBGBs in the late 1990s.
  • Anti-Love Song: "Time to Get Away."
  • Audience Participation Song: "All My Friends," "Us V Them," "Watch the Tapes," among others.
  • Auto-Tune: Averted. Despite it being Electronic Music written after the year 2000, Auto-Tune is not used even for a single moment.
  • Boléro Effect: Quite often, but notably "North American Scum."
  • Book-Ends: Both "Dance Yrself Clean" and "Home," the first and last songs on This Is Happening, have the same "ah-ahh, ah-ah" vocalization.
  • Broken Record: Several.
    • "Yeah" has, well "Yeah."
    • "Get Innocuous" has "You can normalize / Don't it make you feel alive?"
    • "Never as Tired as When I'm Waking Up" has "But not with you / I keep on telling myself it's true."
    • "Us v. Them" has "Us and them / Over and over again".
  • Call-and-Response Song: "Watch the Tapes," "Drunk Girls," "North American Scum."
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The self-titled album, with "Too Much Love" and "Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up" between a number of high-powered uplifting dance songs.
  • Control Freak: Murphy by all accounts. Luke Jenner of DFA band The Rapture recounted how Murphy would not only make them use specific synthesizers, but also made them go to the same therapist he went to.
  • Cool Old Guy: James Murphy was in his mid-30s when he started LCD Soundsystem, far older than most indie rock artists releasing their first album.
  • Cover Version: "Bye Bye Bayou," originally by Alan Vega of Suicide, recorded for Record Store Day.
    • The Harry Nilsson song "Jump Into the Fire" at their final show ever at Madison Square Garden.
  • Dance-Punk: He is pretty much the defining artist of the genre.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business
  • Eagleland: Portrayed as both Type 1 and 2 in "North American Scum".
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Tribulations", "Us v Them", "Give It Up".
  • Epic Rocking:
    • "All My Friends" and "You Wanted A Hit" are two of their longer songs, but many of their songs tend to go past the 6-minute mark.
    • Over 3/4 of the songs on This Is Happening are above six minutes.
    • "45:33" deserves special mention, all six parts clock in at a total of 46 minutes.
    • His longest single songs are the two versions of "Yeah": the "Crass Version" is 9:21, the "Pretentious Version" is 11:06.
  • Follow Your Heart: "All I Want," "All My Friends."
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Inverted in "North American Scum": "New York's the greatest if you get someone to pay the rent."
  • Growing Up Sucks: What much of Murphy's lyrics are about.
  • Hipster: Deconstructed in "Losing My Edge." The singer was an indie DJ back in the 60's and 70's. Now, everything that was underground when he played it is being co-opted by "art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties." By the end, he's in a name-dropping battle rattling off every group in his vinyl collection to prove his relevance.
  • I Am the Band: James Murphy.
  • Inaction Video:
    • The video for "Drunk Girls" hangs a lampshade on this trope. A low budget was given to a bunch of people to buy whatever costumes and props they wanted in order to use any means necessary to distract and make the band screw up while they were calmly performing, a notable difference from the usual Inaction Video where the band doesn't acknowledge their surroundings.
    • Played straight with "All My Friends."
  • It's Always Sunny at Funerals: Mentioned in "Someone Great".
  • It Will Never Catch On: "I was there when Captain Beefheart started up his first band. / I told him, 'Don't do it that way. You'll never make a dime.'" in "Losing My Edge".
  • "I Want" Song: "All I Want," of course.
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Get Innocuous!" is a fairly mellow and danceable song, but ends on some pretty dissonant strings that wouldn't sound out of place in a horror movie.
  • List Song: "Losing My Edge." "Movement" kind of counts too, what with all the "it's like" comparisons.
  • Long Title: "Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up," "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down."
  • Love Nostalgia Song: "All I Want."
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Watch the Tapes," "New York, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down," "Sound of Silver," "Drunk Girls".
  • Lyric Swap: "I believe in waking up together" becomes "I believe in waiting out the weather" during the last chorus of "Drunk Girls."
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: LCD Soundsystem and American Dream
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: 4 throughout the entire career.
  • Motor Mouth: "Pow Pow," "Losing My Edge."
  • New Sound Album: "This Is Happening" comes close, being more elaborate than the previous two albums.
  • Nice Guys Finish Last: Inverted in "Losing My Edge": "I'm losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent. And they're actually really, really nice."
  • Non-Appearing Title: "45:33".
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Drunk Girls" can be seen as this.
  • The Oner: "All My Friends," "Drunk Girls"
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Thankfully averted.
  • Perma-Stubble: James Murphy, likely unintentionally.
  • Precision F-Strike: "If I could fuck you here tonight" from "Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up," "You don't know shit about where I'm from" and "what's it called? Oh, fuck it" from "Pow Pow," "Who has put up with all of your shit" from "All I Want," "fuck the shuffle, put your shit on repeat" from "Emotional Haircut."
  • Politically Correct: The record label James Murphy owns, Death from Above Records, was changed post-9/11 because it wasn't a good idea for a label based in New York City to be called that. It's now just "DFA Records".
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Gil! Scott! Heron!" ("Losing My Edge")
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "How Do You Sleep?" off American Dream, is this in song form, reportedly directed at Murphy's former production partner Tim Goldsworthy. Also doubles as a Shout-Out to John Lennon's similarly titled diss track aimed at Paul McCartney.
  • Rock-Star Song:
    • "Watch the Tapes."
    • "All My Friends" can be interpreted as a bittersweet, nostalgic variant.
  • Rockumentary: Shut Up and Play the Hits, which chronicles Murphy before, during and after the Grand Finale 2011 concert.
  • Sarcastic Title: "North American Scum"
  • Self-Titled Album
  • Shout-Out:
  • Single Stanza Song: "Sound Of Silver."
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Ericbandrakimindexbasicchannelsoulsonicforcejusthitme... GIL! SCOTT! HERON!
  • Spoken Word in Music: James's distinctive singing embraces elements of this.
  • Take That!: "Losing My Edge" is one long Hipster diss (and if you believe James Murphy, also a bit of a Take That Me).
    "I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know."
  • Tin-Can Robot: The "Home" video.
  • Title-Only Chorus: "Yeah", "Pow Pow"
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Pow Pow"
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The band regularly spells "your" as "yr" in song titles and lyric sheets, i.e., "Dance Yrself Clean."


Example of: