LCD Soundsystem Still Wants To Groove Even Though They’re Getting Old On “tonite”
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, LCD Soundsystem is back with a new single from their upcoming fourth studio album – and first in seven years – american dream. “tonite” is the third track James Murphy and co. have released this year, following the bombastic U2 and Bowie-esque “call the police” and dreamy 80’s prom ballad “american dream.” While Murphy has since called the tone of those tracks “slightly misleading” to album’s overall sound, “tonite” feels quintessentially LCD Soundsystem.
No stranger to controversy, LCD Soundsystem has spent the better half of the last six years making headlines for not putting out music. In 2011, the band announced on their website that they’d play their last ever show in April of that year, then consequently released the documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits in 2012 and live record of the final show, dramatically entitled The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square Garden, in 2014. Less than two years later, in December 2015, major news outlets announced the band would be headlining Coachella the following spring. Some fans were pissed, to say the least. And who could blame them? The years have passed with several headlining festival spots, a brief residency at New York City’s newest music venue Brooklyn Steel, and finally the band has confirmed american dream will be released September 1st.
But is “tonite” strong enough to make fans forget the years of manipulative missteps, overstatements, and seeming money-grubbing? Somehow, yes. While “call the police” and “american dream” might not be indicative of the future, fans can rest easy knowing “tonite” is quite definitively the sonic brother of LCD classics “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” and “All My Friends.” With beats reminiscent of New Order’s “Blue Monday,” disco synths, and Murphy’s iconic talk-singing, “tonite” is latent with a sentiment familiar to Arcade Fire’s Everything Now: namely, all music sounds the same, we’re all mindlessly dancing to it, technology is bad, and the future is bleak. But boy, they’re going to punch up that downer message with funky dance beats!
As the songwriter explained to Zane Lowe in a recent episode of Beats 1, Murphy crafted the stream of consciousness lyrics of “tonite” while in London after hearing the same song about partying play in every taxi night after night. “And all the hits are saying the same thing / There’s only tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight / And life is finite / But shit, it feels like forever,” Murphy sings in a disaffected voice. Repeated mentions of growing old and being out-of-touch permeate the youthful dance number, ironically positioning Murphy as a man ripe with “late era middle-aged ramblings” who would proclaim mid-song, “Oh good gracious / I sound like my mom.”
So, does James Murphy sound like an ageing curmudgeon who fails to understand what the hip youth are doing these days while putting out undeniable dance music? Yes. But does “tonite” have an unmistakable groove that makes you feel ready to slow-dance-cry to american dream upon its release? Absolutely.
Written by Kat Manos