LCD Soundsystem had their farewell tour in April 2014, ending in Madison Square Gardens with crowd surfing, celebrities showing up, Arcade Fire as backing band, and even a documentary made of the final days of the band. With their 5-disc vinyl boxed set released and a last show to remember, LCD Soundsystem left the music business. So why bring up a dead band in 2017? Well, it’s because they’re not really dead.
2017 saw the release of American Dream, the fourth studio album from James Murphy and pals of the formerly extinct band. Following suit with the same lyrics of aging and hindsight in this day and age, the band truly hasn’t changed one bit. For diehard fans, this is a relief, as the album itself is not bad; it’s an LCD Soundsystem album. But the more you think of it, it’s just more of the same. The band doesn’t reinvent itself or explore outside their current sound. The only difference is that now James Murphy sings about being burnt out from the social life of New York, old and out of style. A full circle from the band’s debut singing about losing their edge, Murphy finally says that that edge is gone. With this being the only change in the band, fans and critics alike are starting to question, why did the band make their comeback so soon?
Did Murphy feel this urge to tell this finale, the falling apart of the mid 2000s to early 2010s, the death of the hipster, or were there other motivations? Some fans speculate that this is all a hoax, saying that the band is only doing this for the money. Some claim that this “scam” goes all the way back to the farewell tour, trying to bump up prices for tickets. Some concern is true behind these claims, as current tour tickets go between a hundred dollars to as large as thousands on some sites. Of course, if any band as essential to the indie scene left and came back, the hipster wannabes that praise their albums like Bibles would claim that they are sell outs. To be fair to the band, they do warn fans not to pay too much for shows, and the album doesn’t sound like a copout for cash like some accuse.
American Dream at its core is the death of the character James Murphy has played in all of their albums: burnt out, past his prime, catching up to the drugs and parties of youth and trying to be a renegade. This album expresses the end result of a modern life of trying to be different and being a revolutionist. Murphy says you’ll end up dealing the facts, the opportunities you missed, how you lost your path in life, how this modern life is not what it’s coughed up to be. The regretful emotion expressed in this album is unavoidable. Whether this album is for money or the band felt the urgent need to tell the epilogue to their saga, American Dream is an LCD Soundsystem album that provides nothing that lets down expectations, but ruins the heart of the band’s previous death.