Shut Up And Play The Hits

My thoughts on the very loud ending of LCD Soundsystem.

LCD Soundsystem - Shut Up And Play The Hits

I can’t clearly remember the very first time I ever saw the video for ‘Daft Punk is Playing at My House’ where some bearded gentleman stood around “singing” about this gig – but I do recall my very witty comeback: “well bugger off home and listen to them then instead of standing recording your own songs in a studio”.

Har har har. Then a short while after I took great joy from watching a video which featured that same bearded man being slapped repeatedly in the face, interrupting him every time he tried to brag about “being there” at various seminal events in musical history.

And that was why I couldn’t stand LCD Soundsystem. I didn’t get the joke. Was there even a joke? Who even knows with these hipster types.

But some years later – at least five – I remember being very surprised by a song on my radio player. A beautiful piece of music whose lyrics described someone receiving horrible news over the phone and watching “the way you were breathing”, expecting the bad times to come but still feeling the fear; that beautiful fear. I had recently lost my dad to illness and so this was pretty much the last thing I needed to hear. At work. I fled the building and lit a cigarette with the name of the song and group seared into my skull forever.

‘Someone Great’. LCD Bloody Soundsystem.

And obviously, I was hooked from then on.

What I love most about this concert film which doubles as an extended interview with band leader James Murphy, is the timing with which the whole film has taken place. It’s the week of the group’s final gigs ever – and Murphy is as confused about we are as to why he’s even splitting them up. It’s where he sits in a café with writer Chuck Klosterman, whose brilliant line of questioning draws out Murphy’s answers almost as if he’s hearing them himself for the very first time just as Chuck is, as we are. Why is he splitting up the band? What will he do now?

There’s a wonderful moment in the film where James’ voiceover announces that this is the last song, and just as he starts off explaining things, the theme from Twin Peaks begins to swell up around him, as we watch him in a restaurant with his now-former band members; talking, laughing and remembering the good times.

Coupled with some great performances from Madison Square Garden on the band’s final night, Shut Up And Play The Hits has easily become one of my very favourite music documentaries. Not bad for a man I once enjoyed being slapped a lot.

2 thoughts on “Shut Up And Play The Hits

  1. Pingback: A Tune For Tuesday – ‘All My Friends’ in Lego | Alpha Signal Five

  2. Pingback: Five For Friday: Self-Titled Albums | Alpha Signal Five

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