What better time to talk about LCD Soundsystem, my favorite band of my late teens, than now? The band just wrapped up a monumental residency of shows in Brooklyn (that were probably/definitely super spreader events), they’ve got some holiday special streaming, and they were the only band on Warm Visions to earn the Top Song + Album in the same year “honor” until this year, 2021. Hell yes 2021! I’ve had this list talking about my favorite songs of theirs percolating in my drafts for some time, so it’s time to go.
As previously mentioned, LCD Soundsystem was a band that defined my late teens, primarily my senior year of high school and into freshman year of college. I wore an LCD Soundsystem shirt to my first day of radio show training and my mentor (who had an ambient music show) said “yeah… you can play LCD Soundsystem whenever you want (as a dig)… I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that”. The day that the band “broke up”, extended family was over and I couldn’t watch the livestream. Thankfully, I got to see them in Detroit in 2010, where I picked up that shirt that I wore to the radio station. I was crushed about the band breaking up though. Cut to 2017 and they’re back. The 20 shows, the holiday special, a new mediocre record, and all that. It felt like a scorned partner coming back to town with a new haircut, trying to seduce me again after breaking things off.
Aaanyway – here come the hits. (Also spoiler alert there are no songs off their newest album on this list. That album is 100% mid and we all know it).
1. “Home” [This Is Happening, 2010]
I’m a sucker for a good closer. Although not in the canon of “overwhelming favorite” LCD songs, this track really does slap and hit me in ways that others didn’t, especially as a high school senior whose family was about to move out of state. My home state was the only home I’d ever known, and I was about to be taken away from it. As an 18 year-old, the stakes were high. This track just felt like having one last night of fun and debauchery with friends, with no irony, no bad vibes, no nothing. Holy friendship and nostalgia, things that still keep me burning to this day. And like I said, it’s the best closer off the best album in their discog. No brainer here.
2. “All My Friends” [Sound Of Silver, 2006]
IF I COULD SEE ALL MY FRIENDS TONIIIIIIIIGHT – again, a big deal for a high schooler.
3. “Dance Yrself Clean” [This Is Happening, 2010]
This is probably the song that got me onto the LCD train after sampling a few of their songs on the iTunes store and being underwhelmed. I mean, how can you not like the “drop” at 3:08? It’s pretty much gotten them to where they are today, to be honest. Isn’t there a party called Dance Yrself Clean now? Either way, monster tune. The ultimate opener.
4. “Someone Great” [Sound Of Silver, 2006]
Cannot say enough good things about the instrumental on this track. The numbing synthesizers capture the whole mood perfectly. Not sure how they were able to do that. It’s a classic, we know this.
5. “Losing My Edge” [LCD Soundsystem, 2005]
Major shout out to this song for introducing legions of millennials and Gen X’ers to so many good artists and bands from the past. If you want to dog on LCD for anything, you’ve got to give them that. I found out about This Heat, Can, Suicide and more. Plenty I didn’t happen to check out until much later in life (I was a lazy teen, ok?), but for many more studious teens hearing this song for the first time, it gives them a blueprint for some of the best music made in human history.
6. “All I Want” [This Is Happening, 2010]
Listening to this song feels like you’re swinging from a chandelier, suspended atop a taxi flying down the east side highway. The pendulum-like guitar that powers the track pushes it along with wobbly gusto, and the bubbling synthesizer adds a great touch. After getting to know the discographies of David Bowie and Talking Heads, I see know where the “inspiration” for this track came from, but that doesn’t make things any less fun to listen to.
7. “Yeah (Crass Version)” [LCD Soundsystem, 2005]
Always choose the crass version. Always.
8. “Tribulations” [LCD Soundsystem, 2005]
As a teen I absolutely loved this song. So propulsive and reminded me of a video game. It also just sounds so perfectly 2005, with traces of peak-DFA dance punk, with touches of electroclash in there. A portrait of another time.
9. “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” [LCD Soundsystem, 2005]
The breakout hit. It’s a blast to hear live, it’s a blast to play real loud when you need a pick-me-up.
10. “North American Scum” [Sound Of Silver, 2006]
Ah, the payoff. The payoff in this track is immense. It tries to keep it under wraps for a while, but the last minute is just wild.