The Greatest American Band Debate: LCD Soundsystem

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands who started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

My nomination this week for the Greatest American Rock band debate on our website I'm going to make the case for LCD Soundsystem.

I'm a huge fan of this band. They only made three albums, but dammit, they're three great albums and James Murphy is an alt/electronica/rock god. This band is so good, and they quit at the peak of their popularity, making their story about a thousand times cooler. I usually talk about albums during my debate, but with LCD Soundsystem, I'm going to talk more about their many, many awesome songs and people that they played with regularly. I'm also going to touch upon why James Murphy is so great. And I'll close everything out talking about the fantastic concert film, "Shut Up and Play the Hits".

So, let's get to the songs. Some great tunes from LCD Soundsystem's catalog include, "Daft Punk is Playing at my House", "Sounds of Silver", "New York I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down", "Dance Yrself Clean", "Us V Them", "Never Tired As When I Wake Up", and "Drunk Girls", among many, many others. These particular songs just happen to be my favorites, and the reasons why I'm nominated them today. "Daft Punk is Playing at My House" is a great introduction to the band. The song has a pretty cool guitar groove with some great drums and vocals. The song is about setting up for a Daft Punk show at James Murphy's home. This song is LCD Soundsystem at their criticizing peak. The song is a joke and it's awesome. Let "Daft Punk is Playing at My House" be your guide to all the great, "silliness" that is LCD Soundsystem. "Sounds of Silver" is a pretty awesome, pretty straight forward rock and roll song. It starts out with some acapella singing from Murphy and then morphs into a traditional rock song, that totally works. While it is a traditional rock song, LCD Soundsystem adds their twist to it, and it works to perfection. It's a great opener to the album of the same name. "New York I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down" is such a sad, yet sweet song about the state that this band formed. It's a beautiful song, accompanied by some eloquent, sad piano playing. when the guitar comes in, it's such a cool change of pace. The song is slow, for the most part, but when the two guitars come in, distortion heavy I might add, it transform into an excellent rock song. I love this song. It makes me feel like I'm in New York, although I've never been there, and I feel their pain about longing for the city that New York used to be. Lyrics like, "your millionaire mayor is now convinced he's a king", or "New York I love you, but you're freaking me out", are so beautifully poetic and at the same time sad. I love this song. "Dance Yrself Clean" is LCD Soundsystem at their absolute best. The song starts out with a 2 and a half minute quiet opening with only Murphy's vocals and what sounds to be either a single bass or piano note. The lyrics are almost unintelligible and you keep waiting and waiting for what's going to come next. After the intro, the song bursts into a heavy electronic/rock song that is so groovy, you can't help but dance to it. There's awesome keyboard, guitar and drums in this song. Murphy's vocals, as you get further and further into the song, get better and better. This is my favorite song of theirs by far. The song goes back and forth between the quiet intro and heavy verse and chorus. I love everything about this song. Stop reading this, go listen to this 7 and a half minute epic, and come back and finish this blog. Best LCD Soundsystem song by far. "Us V Them" is so heavy and fast, I thought it was a punk song the first time I heard it. It's heavy on the guitar and the solos in this song are so awesome. In the live version, this song lasts about ten minutes, and it's so great. Once again, Murphy crushes the vocals, at one point basically screaming the words. This is the heaviest sounding LCD Soundsystem song in their entire catalog. "Never Tired As When I Wake Up" has the band doing another slow song. It's got sweet, quiet, soulful vocals from Murphy and the band playing behind him plays very slowly and sweetly. It's almost like a lullaby. The song is about being tired of life and the things going on around you. But, the worst part is how tired you are when you awake from a deep sleep. They posite the thought, that, at least when you're sleeping, you can dream away the bad feelings. But, in the end, you wake up and go about your day, no matter how tired you are. This is actually a very sad lullaby. "Drunk Girls" has the band back at their punk rock core. Fast paced with lots of bass and drums. It's another "silly" song from the band. It's about how stupid all people get when they're drunk. The title is meant to be satirical. This is a good, short song from the band. These are all great songs and anyone thinking about listening to the band, use these songs as your gateway.

Next, James Murphy's awesomeness. James Murphy is, in my opinion and a lot of others, an alt rock god. He's so cool and confident and great at what he does. He even wore full, three piece suits when the band performed live. He had and has a style that is all his own. People don't compare him to anyone else, because there's no one else like him. He's unique. His contemporaries adore him as well. The band Arcade Fire loves James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem. They were influenced by him and the band in my opinion (ed note: James Murphy did produce Arcade Fire's last album Reflektor). Reggie Watts and James Murphy performed live a bunch of times. Murphy has even gotten into acting lately and made friends with alt comic geniuses Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. Basically, James Murphy might be the coolest person on the planet. He's an awesome dude.

Which brings me to my last point and reason they belong in the debate, the concert film, "Shut Up and Play the Hits". This movie chronicles their last concert they ever performed as a band at Madison Square Garden. This might be the best concert film ever made. That's right, I think it's better than "The Last Waltz" or "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" or any other concert movie you put up against it. This is a phenomenal portrait of what it's like to put on a show and how hard it is for a band to quit. There's so many emotions running through everybody in the band, the performers that played with them and even the fans. The fans are so excited for the show, but they also don't want it to end, because they know, this is it. They have never performed live or in the studio as LCD Soundsystem since this show. The movie moves seamlessly from the band back stage being emotional, to them performing their hits, to the crowd cheering and dancing and crying. They close out the show with "New York I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down", and the song lasts forever. They don't want the show to end and neither do the fans. The house lights come up, but the band is still playing and they even drop balloons on the sold out crowd, that's still there. This movie is enough for me to put them in the greatest American band debate, but all the other reasons I've mentioned make my case even stronger.

So, these are the reasons I nominate LCD Soundsystem for greatest American band. Tell me why I'm wrong or right in the comment section, and go out and listen to the awesome band known as LCD Soundsystem.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor and co host of the X Millennial Man podcast. The head editor suggest Ty give Reflektor a listen, he can borrow the editor's copy. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.