Shut Up And Play The Hits (please.)
My problem with writing articles is that I don’t plan them out. I just open a new blank screen and start typing. I am not saying that to divert this article to me, but I say it so you understand why some of my articles seem disjointed. Sorry.
Last night, I went to see “Shut Up And Play The Hits” with a few friends at Sun-Ray Cinema for what I believe is the only showing. I was floored. It ranks up there as one of the best documentaries that I have ever seen. It’s about the final days and the last show for the band, LCD Soundsytem, and their decision to quit in order to pursue personal lives, to make families, and to be old people.
First let me say that I was there (kinda). What I mean by that is that I wasn’t at the very last show, but there was a group of shows that were all considered the “last” show. After the Madison Square Gardens (MSG) show sold out in minutes, front man James Murphy noticed that there were tickets going online for thousands and thousands of dollars. In order to reasonably accommodate anyone else who wanted to go, Murphy added four more shows before the MSG show at a smaller venue called Terminal 5 (T5). I saw the last of the T5 shows. I have to say that I feel like I got a better deal, because it was a much more intimate show compared to the one at MSG.
It’s a rare and awesome thing to catch a band at the end of their career and to be able to film it, ESPECIALLY since the break-up was a premeditated thing that was totally cordial and joyous. This movie captures that well, along with the band’s second-guessing and insecurities as to weather or not it was the best idea. At one point, Murphy agrees that he doesn’t know if he did it for the reason’s he claims, or if they ended it before releasing terrible music and becoming a joke.
LCD Soundsystem is a band that many in the elitist music community dismiss. I dismissed them for a long time as well, but once you let yourself actually listen to the music and the lyrics, you start to understand that Murphy seems to be one of the most enigmatic and sincere big guns in the industry.
I relate to Murphy immensely. I feel like I am now in the same place he was in when he started this band, recorded his first album, and sang the lyrics to “Losing My Edge.” He started this band while in his 30s. After making the first album, he sought out and included many of his friends from his past musical ventures. He had never really seen any success with anything before, and as he was building what became LCD Soundsystem, he started noticing the effect the data-age had on music. Being someone who had always been on the outside of the spotlight gave him a very sharp view of what was going on around him. He wasn’t blinded by his own fame, and his ego was that of a down and out musician who knows more about music than most people.
This band speaks to the aging elitist. This band also speaks to us grumpy old rockers, and so does the movie. It makes me think: maybe us old guys are the cool ones after all.