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LCD Soundsystem – american dream – ALBUM REVIEW

Let it be known, the unlikely is more than likely as the theme seems to go in 2017, as we are hit with surprise after surprise; anything is possible now.

    At the very peak of LCD Soundsystem’s career (specifically April 2nd, 2011), they decided to break up, releasing a documentary entitled “Shut Up and Play the Hits” showcasing their farewell tour. James Murphy and the band treated these shows as a funeral for the band, they wore black and white, and James collapsed on the stage near the end of the performance, and that was that, no more thought-provoking progressive electro indie music that teleported millions of fans through waves of nostalgia and good feels. James discussed the reasoning for such an impromptu break-up, stating:”It’s a decision to walk away from ‘bigger and better’, and instead do ‘more and different.”  Flash forward to the present and we are presented with a 10 track out-of-nowhere record that is sure to satisfy both hard-core LCD fans and the “Dance Yrslf Clean” band-wagoners all the same.

The charm of James Murphy’s lyrics is something to be talked about. He writes his songs in a very specific way, extremely aware of himself and the people listening to his music, so the songs he writes are extremely relatable to most. Mixed with the incredibly infectious, progressive dance grooves to camouflage the almost spoken word poems provided by James, and the comedic value of his writing, it’s no surprise why LCD Soundsystem is one of the most iconic indie-electronic groups of our generation, but I mean, you probably already know that by now.

“american dream” is yet another addition to the amazing, classic LCD Soundsystem discography. Ever since “Sound of Silver”, I’ve loved the way James can make such repetitious, almost house-like grooves and transform them into gradual, satisfying progressions within every aspect of each song, always with a specific feeling in mind. This album’s concept puts us in a dream-like state, floating throughout the 10 length duration, learning about what’s been going on lately in James’ world, and reminding us of what’s going on in the world around us in 2017. The album starts off with the song “oh baby“, with a sound that is very familiar to us in songs such as “Dance Yrself Clean”. That iconic synth lead that can inspire an entire arena to get off their feet and dance in any human way possible. This is a perfect introduction to the album, and gives you a great feeling that the record is going to be as amazing as the rest of theirs. In “other voices” James discusses how other voices from anyone are constantly telling you what to do, how to act and such, and how you’re still just a baby learning about yourself as you experience person to person. I love the little trade-off to Nancy Whang’s verse, and the groovy bass line flowing throughout the track.

“I’ve just got nothing left to say
I’m in no place to get it right
And I’m not dangerous now
The way I used to be once
I’m just too old for it now
At least that seems to be true”

i used to” has some very compelling, hard-hitting drums from start to finish. In this song, James seems to be playing on how throughout the years of being successful, he has fallen asleep stating: “I’m still trying to wake up”. The song itself puts you in a dream like coma, love the spacey, eerie synth pads, and the digital, robot percussion. On “change yr mind“, James is discussing his mindset before, during, and after the glorious break up of LCD Soundsystem in 2010. He talks about how he feels like he is getting too old to perform in the band, as well as feeling like he has nothing left to say. When the band talked about getting back together, James became depressed due to his fans’ responses.

tonite” continues to grow on me, as I discussed in the single discovery a few days ago. The repetitive 80s sounding arpeggiated bass loop engages you from start to finish, and there’s enough changes (like in most LCD songs) to make the song flow without annoyances. What a great single for the song, can’t get enough of it. Next, we have “call the police” which was initially released as a paired, double-single along the title track, “american dream”. American Dream is a beautiful, euphoric ballad that sends shivers down my spine with that christmas, winter time vibe in the instrumentals; definitely a highlight for the album. Although the album art of this album is super simple, and at first I found it to be a bit cheap, I think this title track perfectly personifies the artwork, as if you’re floating towards the sun on brisk, winter day.

If you’re new to Rithyms, I play the drums as my main focus, music in general being my second, and I really, really dug the drum pattern in “emotional haircut” enough to do a brief drum cover on the song:

Absolutely in love with this track, from a drummers perspective it’s candy to the ears. I got caught off-guard when the heavy part came in on the song, LCD Soundsystem very rarely, if never, goes to that length of aggression, and it was a breath of fresh air in this dream state album. “black screen” is a 12 minute epic & tribute for James’ good friend, David Bowie. The name “black screen” is referring to our infinity, the blackness of space among the stars, as Bowie is well-known for talking about space, and discovery of the outer world. In my opinion, this has to be close to their best work to date, it’s an incredible project front to back and keeps you wondering where it’s going to go next, with its surprises around every corner. James Murphy has an incredible mind.

-Connor Morley

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