12.28.2010

Top 50 of 2010 :: Number One : LCD Soundsystem - "Home"


"Home" was the last song LCD Soundsystem would ever make, the final track on their allegedly final record. This fatalism rang appropriate. For most Americans 2010 was an age of increasing anxiety and for James Murphy, it was a year he sold the most records of his career and wrote, "Home," about his dead friend Jerry Fuchs who fell down an elevator shaft in Bushwick in late 2009. It was a modern answer to David Byrne's "This Must Be The Place," a dissatisfied take on satisfaction, or a very sophisticated translation of the platitudes about being happiest right where you are. But, Byrne was trying to talk himself into a women, a slacker's manual for how to fall in love. Murphy was just squinting to see the cocoon of human relationships that surrounded him. He spent most of 2007 asking where the hell his friends were. In 2010, James Murphy figured out they were there the whole time.

The verses address Murphy's place as a weary social meteorite on the New York scene, the coolest of the late night kids who aren't kids anymore. He reflects, "Yeah, do it right/and head again into space/so you can carry on/and carry on/and fall all over the place," his take on Byrne's blithe, "I guess I must be having fun." These late nights have worn him down, if not out. You see him nodding his head in a DJ booth at 3am, a mixture of champagne and bourbon in his glass, while he confides his need to "shut the door on terrible times, this his "trick to forget a terrible year." The keys and synths remain amoral, neither supporting this misery nor the nights out that Murphy used to overcome it.

Amidst all this pain lies a complicated pathos. Murphy knows he is actively ignoring his age and his emotional fragility on the wrong side of 40, divorced and too many empty bottles left under the colored lights. Yet, he asks the central question: "What would make you feel better?" The answer is a self-directed admonition as Murphy pleads, "You might forget the sound of a voice/still you should not forget/yeah, don't forget/the things that we laughed about." We rolled on the floor like children, he muses, but then you need to get home safely because we can't afford to lose each other. People make this work. People fill his life.

In his most obvious nod to Byrne's search for "Home," Murphy reaches the same conclusion in almost the same words, "So I guess I'm already there." He closes with a promising reminder, "If you're afraid of what you need, look around you/you're surrounded/it won't get any better ... until the night." It took a less naive melody to arrive at this final song about being surrounded by friends. What makes him feel better is this invisible fabric he has taken all too often for granted. These long nights out aren't the sound of impending age and death; they are the life blood of a man who has built and tied his life to this scene and these people. He sees it now in the final moment. His friends are right here.

3 comments:

MelkandCookies said...

you pulled one over on me.

JL said...

Great choice and a fantastic write up. Since revisiting This Is Happening after the flurry of Best of 2010 lists, I continually go back to "Home" as the strongest and most heartfelt track on the album. I hadn't made the connection to naive melody but I think it is entirely appropriate, if not necessary.

Anonymous said...

the best one!!! thanx so much.