17 February 2008

All My Friends

I bought myself a new iPod shuffle as reward for wasting half my life at the gym in the lead-up to the wedding. My old guy is a brick compared to this, too big to carry when running, and I couldn't bare hearing the shitty hi-nrg cardio mix favoured by the gym any longer.

My gym mix consists of the like of John Tejada (Wavescraper is the most amazing EP, I would love to hear it in a club sometime), Midnight Juggernaughts (not convinced yet), Tom Clark, The Emperor Machine and LCD Soundsystem.

readers rated LCD's 'All My Friends' as one of their top tracks of 2007, so when it came up I listened with particular interest. It's a unique song, epically long, no verse/chorus structure, and just a single chord played throughout.

The lyrics are also a bit special, so I looked them up. I'm not the only one for whom they ring true, with various posters to this Song Meanings website discussing in depth the nature of the lyrics. This seems like a reasonable interpretation, posted by tesla3396 on 25.03.2007:

"So it's fairly straightforward that the song is a retrospective on the rock 'n roll lifestyle and whether it was worth it and what was actually gained from it. What I liked most about it was the monotony of the keyboard and bass line mimicking a life that just goes on and on, regardless of how tired one gets of it, or how oblivious one is to time's passage. It's as if the melody represents the same repetitive tasks of life: sleep, breathe, do the damn thing, etc.

But what the hell do I know? I drunkenly cried myself to sleep over this song the other night."

Here's what the lyrics probably are. Brilliant:

LCD Soundsystem: All My Friends

That's how it starts
We go back to your house
We check the charts
And start to figure it out

And if it's crowded, all the better
Because we know we're gonna be up late
But if you're worried about the weather
Then you picked the wrong place to stay
That's how it starts

And so it starts
You switch the engine on
We set controls for the heart of the sun
one of the ways we show our age

And if the sun comes up, if the sun comes up, if the sun comes up
And I still don't wanna stagger home
Then it's the memory of our betters
That are keeping us on our feet

You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan
And the next five years trying to be with your friends again

You're talking 45 turns just as fast as you can
Teah, I know it gets tired, but it's better when we pretend

It comes apart
The way it does in bad films
Except in parts
When the moral kicks in

Though when we're running out of the drugs
And the conversation's winding away
I wouldn't trade one stupid decision
For another five years of lies

You drop the first ten years just as fast as you can
And the next ten people who are trying to be polite
When you're blowing eighty-five days in the middle of France
Yeah, I know it gets tired only where are your friends tonight?

And to tell the truth
Oh, this could be the last time
So here we go
Like a sales force into the night

And if I made a fool, if I made a fool, if I made a fool
on the road, there's always this
And if I'm sewn into submission
I can still come home to this

And with a face like a dad and a laughable stand
You can sleep on the plane or review what you said
When you're drunk and the kids leave impossible tasks
You think over and over, "hey, I'm finally dead."

Oh, if the trip and the plan come apart in your hand
Tou look contorted on yourself your ridiculous prop
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?

Where are your friends tonight?
Where are your friends tonight?

If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight

While on LCD Soundsystem lyrics, his track Losing My Edge was the first I heard, from an early EP, which also has fantastic lyrics, about growing old, getting less and less cool, more cynical and desperate. I've tried playing this at gigs but unless you're listening to the lyrics it doesn't really work for people.

LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge

Yeah, I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge.
The kids are coming up from behind.
I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge to the kids from France and from London.
But I was there.

I was there in 1968.
I was there at the first Can show in Cologne.
I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge to the kids whose footsteps I hear when they get on the decks.
I'm losing my edge to the Internet seekers who can tell me every member of every good group from 1962 to 1978.
I'm losing my edge.

To all the kids in Tokyo and Berlin.
I'm losing my edge to the art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties.

But I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge, but I was there.
I was there.
But I was there.

I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge.
I can hear the footsteps every night on the decks.
But I was there.
I was there in 1974 at the first Suicide practices in a loft in New York City.
I was working on the organ sounds with much patience.
I was there when Captain Beefheart started up his first band.
I told him, "Don't do it that way. You'll never make a dime."
I was there.
I was the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids.
I played it at CBGB's.
Everybody thought I was crazy.
We all know.
I was there.
I was there.
I've never been wrong.

I used to work in the record store.
I had everything before anyone.
I was there in the Paradise Garage DJ booth with Larry Levan.
I was there in Jamaica during the great sound clashes.
I woke up naked on the beach in Ibiza in 1988.

But I'm losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent.
And they're actually really, really nice.

I'm losing my edge.

I heard you have a compilation of every good song ever done by anybody. Every great song by the Beach Boys. All the underground hits. All the Modern Lovers tracks. I heard you have a vinyl of every Niagra record on German import. I heard that you have a white label of every seminal Detroit techno hit - 1985, '86, '87. I heard that you have a CD compilation of every good '60s cut and another box set from the '70s.

I hear you're buying a synthesizer and an arpeggiator and are throwing your computer out the window because you want to make something real. You want to make a Yaz record.

I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables.
I hear that you and your band have sold your turntables and bought guitars.

I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know.

But have you seen my records? This Heat, Pere Ubu, Outsiders, Nation of Ulysses, Mars, The Trojans, The Black Dice, Todd Terry, the Germs, Section 25, Althea and Donna, Sexual Harrassment, a-ha, Pere Ubu, Dorothy Ashby, PIL, the Fania All-Stars, the Bar-Kays, the Human League, the Normal, Lou Reed, Scott Walker, Monks, Niagra,

Joy Division, Lower 48, the Association, Sun Ra,
Scientists, Royal Trux, 10cc,

Eric B. and Rakim, Index, Basic Channel, Soulsonic Force ("just hit me"!), Juan Atkins, David Axelrod, Electric Prunes, Gil! Scott! Heron!, the Slits, Faust, Mantronix, Pharaoh Sanders and the Fire Engines, the Swans, the Soft Cell, the Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics.

You don't know what you really want. (x15)

1 comment:

Zero said...

I'm a little late, but thank you for the songs.