Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Top 12 Songs of All-Time...Right Now: #2

LCD Soundsystem
"All My Friends"
Single from the album Sound of Silver
Single release date: May 28, 2007
Pitchfork's Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s: 2
Rolling Stone's Top Songs of the 2000s: 41

Getting old sucks. I have determined that once you turn twenty-one, having a birthday is no longer necessary, beginning the inevitable slippery slope. “That’s how it starts.”

James Murphy, through LCD Soundsystem, has released plenty of great songs (shit, they’re all great), and it sincerely saddens me to think that there will be no more new music from the recently disbanded powerhouse. On the bright side, the legacy that they have left behind is substantial and something great, and their back catalogue is chock-full of classics. Also, they left on a high note…you know, before they lost their edge. Still, I humbly decide “All My Friends” as their best, perfectly-crafted song.

“All My Friends” starts with those unforgiving, discordant piano plinks that become the backbone of this masterpiece. The rapid percussion kicks in, followed by that beautiful barnburner of a guitar riff. Once all coalesced, it never ceases for seven minutes of musical euphoria. Throughout the song, it is Murphy’s spot-on lyrics and delivery that do the rest of the work. He shows that, yes, he can sing, and sing well and really pull at the heartstrings while doing it.

Although not quite at the crossroads that Murphy alludes to in the song, the heartfelt confessions hit closer to home for me now more than ever. As a recent college graduate, all of the crazy bullshit that was had with great friends is now mostly a remnant of the past as a set of unforgettable memories. These types of memories are interspersed in the narrative of “All My Friends”, as he reminisces about, among other things, staying up late and doing drugs with his friends. It is hard not to consider this song extremely melancholic in this sense, both in its overall sound and the fact that these fond memories are no longer a reality. Nearing the cathartic climax of the song, Murphy rattles off some inevitabilities of life now: “When you’re drunk and the kids leave impossible tasks / You think over and over, ‘Hey, I’m finally dead’”. Then, he repeatedly belts out with all of his might the question “Where are your friends tonight?” and the simple plea “If I could see all my friends tonight.” Many artists employ some type of climactic nature in their music, but no song brings me as close to tears as “All My Friends” does every single time I hear it. That right there is powerful shit.

I was beyond lucky to be able to see LCD Soundsystem at their last show at Terminal 5 this past March, especially after the scalper fiasco and the unprecedented rapidity of ticket sales for the new shows. Murphy and Co. put on a hell of a show, playing most of their catalogue to a dedicated group of fans. Their set list could be divvied up into thirds, and “All My Friends” concluded the first third. Because of its evocative nature, I would have preferred it to be one of the last songs played of the night. However, as soon as it played, it became a moot point as I realized I was being treated to a live version of one of my favorite songs ever. The level of intensity of the impact of the song increased exponentially when witnessed live, and it became a brief moment of nirvana for me. I was definitely bummed when The White Stripes disbanded this year, but I legitimately have been in mourning for the end of LCD Soundsystem. To think: All of this powerful language over some music. All I want is another hit from them! (OK, I’mLink done.)

Full Version of Song

Music Video (Shortened Version of Song)

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