haterdays hipsters

construX Hipster Haterdays: LCD Soundsystem Sucks (8/6/11)

10:59:00 PMPaul

With all due speX to latfh.com (still one of the funniest sites I've seen in the past three years), we understand that many who visit this site may already be familiar with the social disease that is the hipster, but for the next few weeks we will attempt to illuminate and establish particulars about their behavior as to clarify for anyone still not 100% certain what composes these cretins, as well as to quite firmly pronounce our stance in the War On Hipsters (WoH!)

James Murphy doesn't care about you.
The man above is James Murphy,  the "mind" behind LCD Soundsystem. He does not care whether you like his music or not. He makes music for himself, not for you. James Murphy has been making the most self indulgent digital garbage for 9 years, and most music fans that need validation that they have good taste have an unapologetic love for him and his disgraceful body of work.

James Murphy loves to write songs about himself, like 2002's "Losing My Edge",  2005's "Daft Punk is Playing at My House", or 2007's acclaimed "All My Friends". Everyone of those songs filled with indeterminable boops, and bleeps that leave everything to your imagination. Mr. Murphy makes the music, and once it leaves his hands, its up to you to know what to do with it.

Listening to LCD is like drinking a hot cup of penis.

One of James' most pretentious piece of garbage which he clung to his artistic integrity and hooked up with underground indie shoe/athletic company Nike to create a 45 minute long song to "reward and push at good intervals of a run". The song is almost 46 minutes worth of hideously lazy, uninspired music heralded by insecure music fans as a modern day classical symphony. The song was a commercial failure (how indie!) and James was smart enough to shake his fist at the people who threw money at him for his limited expertise by saying he merely wanted the opportunity to create a long piece of music. It must have been such a freeing experiences since he was under the iron fist of his own record company DFA Records, a company he co-founded with Tim Goldsworthy a real life musician and half of trip hop legend UNKLE.

His awful arrangements have not fallen short of praise as his 2005 self titled album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance Record. He was chosen amongst the heavy hitters, Deep Dish,  Fatboy Slim, Kylie Minogue, and New Order. All failed artists that are irrelevant today, and all of them combined sold less than 1,000,000 albums in the US. The Chemical Brothers won the award that year putting another hipster stigmata on James Murphy's beer gut.

"Dance-punk"???  You blew it!!!!

For the rest of this article, we will be abbreviating the ridiculous, scenester-specific name (you get it? it's hi-fi meets lo-fi meets retro meets culture we only pretend to know about it!  genius!!!)

There's so much to be said about this band and the fact that they are more-or-less worshipped by hipsters that I won't be able to fit it all into this post, and even at that, it should be stated that (as always) we understand the moralless futility of this exercise as any hipster would counter with either a convoluted justification or (for the unassailably valid points) a disaffected blanket dismissal in the form of, "whatever; you suck."  And that may be the point that bugs me the most, as this is actually about the hipsters who listen to lcdss and not the band itself, or maybe equally about both.  Anyhow, the point that bugs me the most is that there's this erected evasion, through a sly combination of irony, detachment and delicate notes of superiority (maybe not that deicate) that are so quickly revealed as a front when any particular idol of hipster culture is attacked.  At the same time hipsters latch onto quirky underground bands and so define their identity by their "tastes" in music and cheap vices so often co-opted from mainstream culture that when mainstream culture adopts (or readopts) an aspect but at the same time offers salty retorts when someone from the mainstream culture doesn't "get it."  That of course is the aim, isn't it... not to actually enjoy music but to choose bands so detestable and annoying that one can preen their sensitivity, sensibility and intelligence when others don't "appreciate" it. 

The fact that people give this fool money has GOT to be a Joke, right???
Why does lcdss suck so much?  Well, I can actually sum it up in one paragraph, and will do, although I will continue on afterwards because this is such a fun target.  All "dance-rock" sucks, first off.  The idea that a genre like this needed to be invented was itself no more than an attempt to make something "different" and score off the suburban 20-somethings who are looking to set themselves apart as "different."  Why does it suck?  Dance music, this specific kind of dance music that has been hijacked by the hipster set, is at least 40 years old.  But where it existed was not anywhere these pasty pansy patsies could safely attend.  The last mainstream dance music movement was disco.  And perhaps it's time to make a very important point that Dance Music originated to be Danced To, not to make a comment about dance music or music or culture.

It also doesn't help how often I hear James Murphy called a "genius" and lauded with such other hyperbolic praise.  The man takes average melodies and then obnoxiously stretches their production to an interminable length using unastounding arrangments.  There is nothing "ear-catching" about these songs.  It's just annoying, and I have seen and heard enough in it's defense that it's "supposed" to be monotonous or boring.  It's just so pretentious, a way to draw attention to oneself by an obscure affinity that underscores one's superior capacity for appreciating "true art."  It's trite.  And as a side note, spelling Your as Yr is as pointlessly affected as Colour or Flavour. 

But the generation responsible for trash like lcdss grew up after disco, or anything that sounded like it, was an acceptable form of music.  So what do they do?  These bored middle-class kids think that by supplementing the drum machine with live instruments and writing lyrics or disaffected lyrics over it, that they've created a new form of music.  First off, before drum machines existed, there was dance-rock, and even immediately after.  Secondly any type of music can be danced to-In fact, the only reason to create music is to move people either emotionally or physically.  And why lcdss the most aesthetically offensive?  They take this concept to its most irritating extreme and intellectualize to the point where it is neither danceable nor tolerable.  It is tailor made for some chick to utter from under his handlebar, "you just don't get it." 

cXnX had to call in several favors to get someone to take care of this situation... The real reason lcd is done.

Recording and marketing "dance-rock" on the basis that it is original or even necessary echoes, to me at least, a hipster chick who breaks up with someone because she "doesn't know herself" but immediately thereafter tells the weepster across the coffee shop table from her how sad and lonely she is.  It doesn't need to exist!  Just make music that is genuinely enjoyable, not a sarcastic rehash of styles that originated out of a desire to have fun.  But that's a hipster for you, leave it to them to take all the fun out of dance music.  Have you, our kind Chux Chaser, ever been to a hipster (indie) rock show?
Indie kids don't dance!--- well i guess to be fair, if they really get into it they are known to dance.  There's only one hipster dance move, though, it's called the half-step.

Exhibit A: No confetti.  How can this man be an entertainer?
So let's look briefly (but not too long or you'll go blind) at the band's flagship song "Daft Punk is Playing at My House".  To me, this kind of ironic name dropping is the musical equivalent of a tshirt that says "I'm kind of a big deal."  It's bland and just vague enough for someone to say, "Haha I get it!"  Again, it's tailor made for a hipster house party, itself an ironic appropriation (as is the song) of the culture it tries to only half-heartedly admire. I will be giving a much closer look at my most personally despised song "Losing My Edge" next week, but as an overarching point I will say it is the best example of pretentious arrangments for a song that doesn't go anywhere or say anything. lcdss and dance rock bands as a whole use out-dated equpiment because they choose to, not because they have to, and I completely understand the idea of period instruments in real music, but here, to opt for a cheap sound just to make a comment on dance music is so gddm smug it makes me want to shake a hipster by his scrawny shoulders.  Once once once more, this kind of music is tailor made for musicians who can appreciate what he's doing. And once once once the fk again, that is Not What Dance Music Is!  It is not music hall fodder for analysis (of course the whole idea of analyzing music is laughable to begin with).

Aaaannnddd here we go with the Deconstructionist argument, that we live in a post-modern era where every avenue has been traveled, that nothing's original or real anymore so the only thing left to do is pretend to make a sharp social commentary by "ironically" implementing elements of styles and genres that weren't mainstream to begin with claiming to be re-evaluating them.  The easy counter here is that it requires knowledge of all this history of everything that existed before the post modern age, an academic education on it, to .  Without the external reference points, the whole idea of mocking those references or putting them in a new light falls flat.  Play this for someone who never heard of Daft Punk or Chic, and then play them the genuine article and see what they prefer.  I remember an interview clip with Wynton Marsalis in the Ken Burns picture where he was talking about an experimental jazz pianist who played a prepared piano, and expected his audience to meditate for a half-hour before coming to the show.  Wynton stated, "That's bullshit."  And I can't say it better, not in 8 paragraphs, not in 80.  lcdss present such an impure form of music that doesn't strive to entertain but rather call attention to how clever James Murphy is.  But I guess I just don't get it.

For the record, though, Homework is one of the finest examples of "smart" dance music and albums of any genre ever recorded.

[Awwwww, thanks Ian.]

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