It was a cold, chilly Saturday night in New York City. At Madison Square Garden, LCD Soundsystem slowly emerged onto the stage as the lights came on to the repetitive beat of “Dance Yrself Clean” and the crowd roared in applause. The band was entering the stage for what they thought would be their very last concert. They played for almost four hours, in maybe one of their greatest live performances ever. The setlist was filled with a variety of songs from their five studio albums. Their final song, “New York, I Love But You’re Bringing Me Down,” from the 2007 album Sound of Silver was powerful and poetic; the perfect ending for the New York crowd. LCD Soundsystem thought it was the very last song they would ever play together. As it neared the end, thousands of white balloons dropped from the ceiling and onto the crowd. It was a very emotional and sad moment for many fans, some of whom were in tears, as the band finished playing and walked off the stage.
Six years later, LCD Soundsystem reunited and released American Dream on September 1, 2017. It was the band’s first time playing together since their “farewell concert.”
American Dream begins with the song “Oh Baby,” which slowly builds volume as more instruments and different sounds are added in. Then, James Murphy’s faint voice slowly emerges as the simple yet multiplex beat keeps repeating behind the vocals.
Murphy’s poetic and quirky lyrics are displayed consistently throughout the album in songs like “Emotional Haircut,” where the line “It ain't a disease… It's just hard to do whatever you please” stands out as powerful and smooth. “Please shake me from my lovesick patient dream” from “Oh Baby” is a very deep and poetic lyric.
Many of the songs on American Dream contain the post-punk and experimental dance sounds unique to LCD Soundsystem, though the album has a lot more electric guitar than their older albums. Many of the new songs have a very whiney and stretched out sound to them.
American Dream hones in on the classic 80s chorus and synth sounds, most evident on “Tonite,” which also has a sort of Daft Punk feel to it. The music video for this song was shot with an 80s video vibe.
“Tonite” seems to be about how time never stops; we are aging, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. “I promise you this; you're getting older… And there are improvements… unless you're such a winner that the future's a nightmare and there's nothing I can do… Nothing anyone can do about this.”
“Tonite” sounds like a cry for help, like it’s LCD Soundsystem’s last chance to succeed; like there is only tonight and no other night. At the very end of the song, away from the microphone, you can hear Murphy say the line, “It's gonna have to be good enough, I can't do this anymore, my brain won't work.” James Murphy clearly put everything he had into this album--knowing LCD Soundsystem, it just might be their “last.”