Where are Your Friends Tonight?

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog about LCD Soundsystem any time soon. I thought that their music might be an interesting topic for a future blog but I wanted to absorb it a little more. Then I heard the song ‘All My Friends‘ and I knew I had to write something about it.

When I listened to that track a few days ago I saw it in a completely new way; I feel like I really understood what it was about. It is a song about aging, disappointment and growing older and wiser. LCD Soundsystem is conceived and fronted by James Murphy, a thirty something individual like myself who understands what it is like to grow older and still not know exactly what he wants out of life. The song is also about community, as the title ‘All My Friends’ might suggest; about losing and then reconnecting with old friends, finding new friends and being a part of a community.

Musically it is not a complex song. It finds it’s life in how it adds and subtracts it fundamental elements. It starts with a piano playing the same few notes over and over, these notes continue throughout the entire song but somehow seem to take on new life and meaning as the song progresses. The drums, bass and guitar riff are eventually added and subtracted from the main piano riff to give the song weight were it needs it and space where it is required. LCD Soundsystem has always straddled the line between rock and dance music and this track displays that balance to great effect, with the piano, drums and bass providing the dance background and the guitar riffs adding in the rock backbone.

Lyrically I always find James Murphy writes what reads like bad lines of poetry (he even admits it himself in ‘I Can Change’ off of a later album “Love is an open book to a verse of your bad poetry, and this is coming from me”). Anyways, this song contains the line “It comes apart, the way it does in bad films. Except the part where the moral kicks in,” which apart from any context hardly even seems like a song lyric at all, but wrapped within the music it contains the heart of what the song is about. Life not making sense and then slowly figuring itself out and coming to grips with who we are and what we are becoming and who we want to be.

There are other great lines here as well (“You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan, and the next five years trying to be with your friends again” and “You forgot what you meant when you read what you said, and you always knew you were tired, but then, where are your friends tonight?”). I feel like I am living in these lines right now, I spent a few years trying to find what direction I want my life to go and now I am trying to get where I have decided I want to be with the people I want to be with.

I think the reason the song really spoke to me is that most of the songs I hear about growing older are from the perspective of teenager moving into adulthood (been there, done that) or about making sure we live fully before we die (which is kind of depressing when you think about it). This one is really about getting older and not understanding it all, wishing we had a better plan, even wishing we were a better person and hoping that one day we will be.

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About themusicandtheart

New Hampshire resident with interests in music, literature, films and baseball.
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