Either you know and love them, or you don’t know them. Those seem to be the only two options available when it comes to New York’s prolific music outfit LCD Soundsystem. Over the course of a decade, the band broke genre conventions and had a great time doing it, releasing three (subjectively) near perfect albums. With such a firmly established fanbase (and for good reason), I can certainly see many of you seeing the headline to this and rolling your eyes. Of course we should be OK with it! Why are you questioning this crazy radio man?
When I saw the news that they were going to be returning for more shows and even a brand new album, I have to admit that I instinctively became disappointed. Though the news of the group coming to a close was sad at first, I ultimately viewed it as for the better and even admired them for viewing the whole thing as a project, with a bit of an umbilical cord from their beginning to ending. Not to mention the way they said their final goodbye was an incredible, 3 hour long extravaganza at Madison Square Garden that I’m sure many people travelled across both the country and the world for! I liked that they had come to a logical conclusion that the band should end, and on a high note, at that. Both the concert movie and album that were released (Shut Up and Play the Hits and The Long Goodbye respectively) were both impeccably orchestrated, and allowed them to stamp their legacy forever.
So should they be allowed to simply reverse all of that and become active again after the fact? I’m sure that many, like me, were initially thrown off and disappointed by the news, especially people that probably invested a lot of time and money into the ending. Shut Up and Play the Hits, in my humble opinion, is one of the better concert films ever made, and gave me a lot of respect towards their ending. With no shortage of Murphy headed projects (Arcade Fire’s Reflektor being my personal favorite, and his proposal of changing the sounds heard on the Manhattan subway being incredibly interesting as well), there seemed to be a fantastic new era of music on the way. With Murphy in the executive producer chair, working on selective projects he really cared about, there was a certain comfort that whatever his next undertaking ended up being would be about the music, not anything that he has to be working on due to pressure, contractual obligations, monetary reasons, or more. But what happens when that next undertaking is more LCD Soundsystem?
So I ask again -should it be morally acceptable for them to come back? I do have to admit, this question certainly makes me conflicted. While there are a plethora of reasons to immediately get angry, the biggest counter argument is a strong one - more LCD Soundsystem. More of the Murphy project that we all know and love. After my initial shock of the news, I took some time to read the post that Murphy made the band’s Facebook page, and I have to admit, his argument is certainly very compelling. In this post, he details his nonstop musical writing process, how the itch just doesn’t stop, which eventually compelled him to have a plethora of material that he felt the urge to record. So having a conversation with the other band members, he had several options, make a solo record (which would really just be featuring the band; the whole thing seems rather conceited, and his heart just wasn’t in that), make the music under a different band name (which, again, would just be featuring the same band… another option that his heart just wasn’t in), or decide that it was time to create under LCD Soundsystem again.
As a creative, I can understand why it would hard to say goodbye to creating. Many have tried in the past and failed (Film director Kevin Smith publicly said goodbye to film making several years ago, only to return with his next film Tusk later on - I predict a similar thing may happen to Quentin Tarantino), it’s hard to step away from what you know and what feeds you internally. While many move on to other things, there is something to be said for those who consistently get hit with that creative itch. After a while, even if you decide that you’re done with art, something will hit you that makes you feel the urge to express yourself in that way again. That’s clearly what’s happened to Murphy and his band, and it’s something that I can understand.
Truth be told, this really does seem like the best choice to me. The music that Murphy writes and the people that he performs it with is LCD Soundsystem, simple as that. Though there is something to be said for breaking the pact of the gargantuan finale that they set up, there is also something to be said for artistic integrity, which in this case, I think holds up quite well. I’m excited to hear what they’ve got cooking up for us in the lab, and I’ll also be excited to find out what was so important that they had to bring it back to the
In conclusion, I don’t think that there’s a solid answer to this question for everyone, because there are certainly valid arguments on both sides. For me, however, I’m excited to hear their new music, which Murphy has made evident has to be their best album yet, as well as get the chance to see them live - something I thought that I would never be able to do. I’m insanely grateful for the opportunity, and I’ll definitely be there for one (if not both) of the Red Rocks shows in August. This isn’t the first time a band has gotten back together, and it most certainly will not be the last. The difference this time, I believe really holds true to the artistic integrity that Murphy is known for, as opposed to a cash grab that could happen with band reunions decades later (Looking at you, Pixies).
By Adam Sputh