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Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #3 LCD Soundsystem

 

The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until we unveil our #1 artist of the decade!

Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.

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#3 LCD Soundsystem

In "Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up", LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy croons:

It feels like I'm in love again, with what you do
But not with you

It's a complex sentiment, expressed in simple language. Like Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, you feel there are important intricacies and nuances throughout LCD's music, something in the minimalism that you're missing. This could be because Murphy's lines can often be taken many ways; or because a typical pop lyric tends to resolve in an unexpected way (as above). More so though, it's because of the ambiguity of the emotional element. The "but not with you" part of the line, is sung with almost an audible turning down of the head. Is there a smile in that motion? Is he being sardonic? Disappointed?

This ambiguous emotional aspect is expressed again in straight-forward language in "Someone Great", a song about loss:

I wake up and the phone is ringing
Surprised, as it's early
And that should be your perfect warning
That something is a problem

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

The day I got the call that my grandmother had died those lyrics finally hit me with force.

Ultimately, LCD is about this sort of dialectic. They are simple, but complex; rock versus disco, rock star against rapper, punk meets melodic grandiosity. What we get from the synthesis' of these elements is defining music that feels important, relevant, and strangely passionate. And you can dance to it too.

- Ken Manning

[ play ] | [ download mp3 ] LCD Soundsystem - Disco Infiltrator

Check back tomorrow for the next artist! To see the full list of the Top 100 Artists of the Decade, click here.

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