Record of the Week

LCD Soundsystem “American Dream”

Cover_LCDLCD Soundsystem
“American Dream”
(DFA / Sony)

LCD Soundsystem should actually not be existing anymore. We are all remembering it: the giant farewell concert at Madison Square Garden in 2011, preserved for posterity on the DVD “Shut Up and Play the Hits” and the live album “The Long Goodbye”. James Murphy did not want to be a 40-plus pop star and rather bury his project before  becoming old and gray – he did not keep up this resolution very long and the “long goodbye” turned into an announced comeback: LCD Soundsystem have been playing live shows since 2015; a new album was just a matter of time.

And here it is: “American Dream” is a title as momentous as its empty, says everything and nothing, can stand for overthrow or the description of the status quo. Murphy, now the grayed father of a toddler conjures a lot of ends/goodbyes on this album: of friendships, loves, relationships, dubious heroes, your old haircut, and the American dream itself. Many have therefore celebrated the album as a new beginning and rebirth, connection to the old Soundsystem seems more appropriate to me: Thanks to flickering post punk rhythms, in the spirit of Talking Heads and Liquid Liquid, in combination with violent-emotional songwriting Murphy is building the reliably stunning LCD-Sound that immediately gets you dancing – bittersweet and overwhelming at the same time.

“Emotional Haircut“ and “Change Yr Mind“ are the most catchy songs of the album, but shut up and play the his is not happening as much this time. Murphy is stretching the tracks, exposing bass and guitar, while bemoaning, describing and decrying the circumstances – or he croons them as he does in “Oh Baby” that is not just accidentally a reminiscent of “Dream Baby Dream” of Suicide. Digging in the music of bygone eras and reminiscing about artists like Alan Vega, Lou Reed, David Bowie is part of Murphy’s self-perception – and maybe also his self-positioning. That he starts sounding more and more like Bono (“Call the Police”) is a side effect that is as bizarre as it is funny.

Recently in Berlin: LCD Soundsystem at Funkhaus


Translation by Denise Oemcke 

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