Another week is done. I listened to LCD Soundsystem all week this past week, and was very happy with the experience.
I came late to the party that is LCD Soundsystem. I had heard a couple of their songs on the radio, like North American Scum, and hadn’t really latched on. It wasn’t until 2011 that I started to really listen to them. Someone from the local radio station had brought in a whole bunch of CDs to the resale store I was working at at the time. In there were many albums that I wanted, and some that, for the right price and availability, I would give a try to. Hell Below/Stars Above by last week’s artist Toadies was in this large dump of music, and so was This is Happening by this week’s artist. I picked it up on a whim. It was still a little while after that before I gave it a serious listen, but I loved it as soon as I did. Drunk Girls was pretty good, but I had been hearing it on the radio so it didn’t really strike me. It was songs like I Can Change and Home that stood out the most. I decided that I needed more, so I backtracked to the self-titled debut and Sound of Silver. Unfortunately, there would be no more new LCD Soundsystem in my life for another six years, but to be honest the new album was worth the wait.
There is something very soothing about the minimalism and cleverness of LCD Soundsystem. Somehow, there is and isn’t a lot going on in your average LCD Soundsystem track. Careful listeners will notice hints of the Beatles’ later sound (Never as Tired as When I’m Waking Up) and David Bowie’s earlier sounds (Change Yr Mind). And then there are the layers. Complexity is created by taking basic elements and layering them together over each other in interesting ways to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s like arranging ten pennies in such a way that you somehow get a dollar.
But of course, the important questions are “why did they make the list?” and “why number thirty-nine?”
Well, one thing working in their favor is what I call the “no skip rule.” I use the “shuffle” feature on my music players a lot, but it’s not always perfect. Some times songs and bands come up that I’m just not in the mood for when they happen. And so, I skip and move on. But there are some bands that I never use that executive action on. There are a handful of bands who never get skipped. That’s a small subset out of my massive collection, and there are some bands ahead on this list that do fit this rule, but most that do not. However, LCD Soundsystem is on of the former group. I never skip them, because I am never not in the mood to hear them. That counts for a lot. It says more when you consider that their music includes songs that range from “dance your ass off to this” to “now would be a good time to lay back and stare at clouds.” Either of those types could come up, and still, there is never a time that I don’t want to hear them.
Has LCD Soundsystem had some kind of profound influence on my life? Not yet, but it’s early for them. I’ve been listening to them for a little over five years, which in the grand scheme is only like 12% of my overall time. There are bands that have had influence in less time, but not many. LCD Soundsystem gets here because they have a lot of potential to continue being important to me in the years to come. And I am looking forward to that.