In May of last year Jody Rosen wrote a review of LCD Soundsystem’s “This is Happening,” commending James Murphy for “making his midlife crisis danceable.”
It’s true: the first time you hear “I Can Change” you will want to turn your speakers all the way to Spinal Tap eleven and pretend your living room is a dive bar in Brooklyn. Even at eleven, the music will not seem loud enough to accompany the steps of your exuberant dancing, seemingly matching Murphy’s tone.
The second time you listen to it, the music will seem quiet for a different reason. It will recede into the background and James Murphy’s voice will begin to sound lonely and desperate. You will hear the repeated chorus of “never change” and “I can change” and it will become uncomfortable.
If you are far enough away from the situation he sings about, the lines will just be uncomfortable because you don’t understand him. If you do understand him, you will want him to SHUT. THE. —-. UP.
But, also, keep singing?
Because it’s all so right and beautiful and if you change, then you change and if you don’t, you don’t need to yet.
At this point, you will have to move on to “Dance Yrself Clean” and do as instructed. It’s a process.
I need louder speakers.
And floods that submerge the entire world then recede and reveal everything as cleaner and more beautiful than before. Aside from a few touch-ups, I wrote all of the above on February 25th for my creative nonfiction class. I was getting used to a slight change in lifestyle and saying goodbye to an old, sort-of neighbor who wouldn’t actually be leaving for months.
I’m weird with goodbyes. That is something that will never change.
And it’s weird and seems like almost too much to say that “Dance Yrself Clean” helped, but I really think it did. And now James Murphy is leaving music to do other things, focus on other aspects of his life that deserve to be developed and now I don’t need eight minute dance songs that make me whip my hair back and forth but I don’t want to say goodbye.
I don’t want to say goodbye to a band that is so able to link themselves to my memories. Like sneaking out for blueberry pancakes in the middle of the night and seeing sunrises from deserted parking lots with All My Friends.
And New York, I Love You and swearing I could hear the ending from my campsite. And even if I didn’t hear it then, getting that from Madison Square Garden at four in the afternoon from my living room while thinking about choosing sleep over delirious fans and synth beats in the early morning at Bonnaroo and knowing that no matter how many words I cram into this sentence I could never tell you how much that all means or what it all means or what it means to cry over a song or to pause it all before the big breakdown and write it all out because it might just be the goodbye or the change or something else that I haven’t quite figured out.
I wish I had more time to say thank you, but I’ll turn the music up and let it go.
I wouldn’t trade one stupid decision for another five years of life