10 Best LCD Soundsystem Songs

New Jersey’s James Murphy obviously has a terrific record collection – his favourite artists include The Fall, Yes, The B-52’s, David Bowie, and Can. LCD Soundsystem’s music echoes these influences, along with electronic pioneers like New Order and Kraftwerk. Murphy turned down the opportunity to write for Seinfeld in order to pursue a musical career. He’s a successful DJ, but his best-known project is the dance-punk ensemble LCD Soundsystem. Their electronic music is accessible for rock fans, with Murphy’s imperfect vocals providing an obvious human element.

LCD Soundsystem have released four studio albums to date, from 2005’s self-titled record to 2017’s american dream. This list draws on all four records, as well as their early non-album material. Apologies in advance that I couldn’t squeeze in the much-loved ‘All My Friends’.

10 Best LCD Soundsystem Songs

#10 Daft Punk is Playing at My House

from LCD Soundsystem, 2005
LCD Soundsystem’s debut album opens with ‘Daft Punk is Playing at My House’. The relentlessly buoyant track was inspired by Murphy’s idea to host a house party. He told ireallylovemusic that “I wanted to do a documentary were we would get a local band to play in a basement, then us and then Daft Punk but film it like a proper rock show with the crowd shots and everything. And being the nature of what house parties are, not that many people would even know who Daft Punk are, which would be extra funny. There would just be this basement, Daft Punk, some kids, a keg and a washing machine. It would be great.”

#9 North American Scum

from Sound of Silver, 2007
On the lead single from Sound of Silver, Murphy both defends and pillories his country. “You see I love this place that I have grown to know/Alright, North America/And yeah, I know you wouldn’t touch us with a ten-foot pole/’Cause we’re North Americans”. Musically, ‘North American Scum’ recalls Pete Shelley’s ‘Homosapiens’, The Buzzcocks frontman’s hit from 1981.

#8 Home

from This Is Happening, 2010
After the greatness of Sound of Silver, This is Happening is a little disappointing, but it’s bookended by two stunning tracks. It closes with ‘Home’ – Murphy said “I wanted to make something with a happy ending. I wanted it to be about being in a band and how much I like it.”

#7 Call The Police

from american dream, 2017
LCD Soundsystem announced their farewell show for April 2011, in Madison Square Gardens – the show was chronicled in a documentary named Shut Up and Play the Hits. They reunited in 2016, playing large shows and recording the album american dream. Despite a seven-year hiatus between albums, the group sound unchanged on ‘Call the Police’, part of a double a-side release. Murphy and friends are still mining late-1970s Bowie for inspiration.

#6 Losing My Edge

non-album single, 2002
Murphy’s acerbic vocal delivery echoes The Fall’s Mark E. Smith on LCD Soundsystem’s early work. On ‘Losing My Edge’ he namechecks a long list of critically fawned-over acts like The Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart, and Pere Ubu. Murphy explained the origins of ‘Losing My Edge’ to the website ireallylovemusic. “When I was DJing, playing Can, Liquid Liquid, ESG, all that kind of stuff, I became kind of cool for a moment, which was a total anomaly. And when I heard other DJs playing similar music …I was afraid that this new found coolness was going to go away and that’s where ‘Losing My Edge’ comes from.”

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.

#5 Get Innocuous!

from Sound of Silver, 2007
The first time I heard LCD Soundsystem was when I bought Sound of Silver from the cutout bin, lured in by the cover. I was immediately hooked by the grooves of opening track ‘Getting Innocuous’, with the different parts layered on top of the beat. There’s a clear debt to Bowie and Eno here – Murphy’s vocals recalls the work of the 1970s art-rock pioneers.

#4 Someone Great

from Sound of Silver, 2007
Sound of Silver was dedicated to “the memory of Dr. George Kamen (1942–2006), one of the great minds of his or any generation.” It’s assumed that the gorgeous ‘Someone Great’ was written about Kamen, who was Murphy’s long-time therapist. Murphy communicates the pain of loss eloquently:

To tell the truth I saw it coming
The way you were breathing
But nothing can prepare you for it
The voice on the other end

#3 Yr City’s A Sucker (Full Version)

originally a b-side, 2004
‘Yr City’s A Sucker’ originally surfaced in the run of singles that led up to LCD Soundsystem’s 2005 debut album. It was the b-side for 2004’s ‘Movement’, and the nine-minute full version was included on the bonus disc of their 2005 debut album LCD Soundsystem. ‘Yr City’s A Sucker’ is one of Murphy’s most relaxed pieces – it lopes along agreeably over cowbell, a dancefloor-ready bass line, burbling synths, and driving rhythm guitar.

#2 Time to Get Away

from Sound of Silver, 2007
There are lots of instances of musicians getting ripped off by businessmen, but precious few songs in response. Murphy told a New York audience in 2011 that “People think this song is about an ex-girlfriend or something. It’s not. It’s about my old manager. F*** that guy. I paid a lot of money for the right to say f*** that guy.” The best moment is the way the music drops off after the key line. “I knew you were low, man
But the truth is I was shocked.”

#1 Dance Yrself Clean

from This Is Happening, 2010
‘Dance Yrself Clean’ simmers for three minutes before exploding out of the speakers when the beat hits. It bears strong similarities to the 1983 track ‘Jamaica Running’ – a long-time DJ, Murphy’s known for taking inspiration from other tracks, not unlike Led Zeppelin. When Murphy confessed to David Bowie that he’d taken liberally from him, Bowie responded by saying “You can’t steal from a thief, Darling.”

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  1. Thanks for educating me about a New Jerseyan I had never heard of before. I can’t deny Murphy’s music definitely falls outside my core wheelhouse. That being said, based on my initial impression, I don’t find inaccessible – just different!

    • They’re pretty much electronic music for rock fans – there’s lots of rock in there as well, and Murphy’s rough vocals make it more accessible I reckon. I bought Sound of Silver on a whim and loved it, at a time when I was less accepting of any music that didn’t have guitars.

  2. At first I just thought that he was the kind of hipster that I hate with that hipster taste that I hate, and actually I still do but then when Sound of Silver came out I started to like it a real lot, and then after that I thought his music started getting better and better. My favorite ones here are Home and call the police which aren’t even from Sound of Silver but the music on them is really good. And then after those I like Time to Get Away the best. I remember at the time that Daft Punk is Playing at My House came out I was still really into Daft Punk but I was disappointed at their latest album and I kept telling everybody that the LCD song was actually better than the new Daft Punk album. Lmao!. But then I changed my mind and I love that Daft Punk album now. It’s actually the last decent thing that they did, to tell the truth.

    • He is totally a hipster, but the music is great a lot of the time. I think he moved away from electronic music and into a more band-based sound over time.

      I’m not actually huge on Daft Punk – I only have Discovery and need to give it more time.

  3. I still haven’t heard a couple of his albums like that one with the numbers like 45 something and then there’s one with a real long title that I don’t know what it is. It could be live albums or something.
    Homework is the great Daft Punk album, and Discovery is about half great. But the albums got weaker as they went along unfortunately. In my opinion.

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Aphoristic Album Reviews is almost entirely written by one person. It features album reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.

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Graham Fyfe has been writing this website since his late teens. Now in his forties, he's been obsessively listening to albums for years. He works as a web editor and plays the piano.

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